By: Valentine Adese,
At the resumption of the hearing of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s case against the immediate past governor of Plateau state, at the Plateau State High Court today, EFCC witness, Uchenna Igwe has told the Court that no money was transferred from the “Plateau Project Account”, to the private account of Senator Jonah David Jang.
The witness, who said he was the former Senior Manager of Zenith Bank branch in Jos, the Plateau state capital, where the Plateau State Accounts are domiciled, told the Court that, while he was there as a Senior Manager, the relationship between the Bank and Plateau state Government was that of “Customer-Banker relationship.”
According to Mr. Igwe, before the fund provided for the development of Small-Medium Scale Enterprises (SMSEs) hit the state account at Zenith, the State Government had an account balance of over N839million.
According to the witness, the N2bn from CBN, which is an issue before the Court, was first wired into the Plateau Project Account before it was transferred to the SMSEs account also domiciled in the branch.
He said when the money first hit the account on the 17th of March, 2015, he had to draw the attention of the State’s Commissioner of Finance and the Accountant- General of the state, as they were then, to the Central Bank of Nigeria’s transferred fund for SMSEs.
Igwe told the Court that, owing to the mandate of the Accountant General, the branch had to transfer the fund to the SMSEs’ account on the 20th of March, 2015. But, with a later directive from the then Governor (Sen. Jang), the money was transferred back to the Plateau Project Account, on 24th March, 2015.
However, Mr. Igwe, who is now the Senior Manager of Zenith Bank in Wuse, Abuja, told the Court that there were huge drawings on the account between 25thand 26th March and 7th April 2015, with none transferred to the personal account of Sen. Jang, who was then governor.
Mr. Uchenna Igwe, who read the cash inflows and outflows details of the Plateau State Account code named “Plateau Project Account” from a printout made available to him by the prosecuting Counsel of the EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), told the Court that:
N1.050 billion was transferred to the office of the State Secretary to the Plateau state Government (OSSG), N61.3million was transferred to Plateau state Government House Admin, N55 million to the Plateau State House of Assembly (PLHA) account and N609million to Plateau State salary account among others.
According to Mr. Igwe under cross examination by Robert Clarke (SAN), who led S. G. Odey Esq and 7 other Lawyers for the accused, told the Court that, no money was transferred to the personal account of Jonah Jang, but within the state accounts.
In his analysis to the Court, Igwe told the court that the sum of over N2.549 billion was transferred and that if not for the N2billion that came from the CBN, the state government would not have been able to meet up with its financial obligation as at then
The matter is slated for continuation of hearing tomorrow, 31st October, 2018.