By: Valentine Adese,
The last is yet to be heard of the N2 billion criminal case instituted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against the immediate past governor of Plateau State, as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has told the Plateau State High Court sitting in Jos, the state capital that it does not know what Sen. Jonah David Jang, then as governor, used the money for.
The CBN, through its Director of Development and Finance Department, Mr. Mudashiru Olayital, told the court that, though the then governor, Jonah David Jang, submitted the state’s “Expression of Interest to Participate” in the N200Billion CBN Program for SMEs, sometime in 2014, attaching the Plateau State House of Assembly Resolution, being part of CBN’s conditions to access the fund, alongside the ISPO, the State’s Special Purpose Vehicle (SSPV) was only on paper unknown to the Bank.
According to the Director, who spoke under caution, the CBN only found out that there was no structure when they visited the state to monitor activities related to the released N2billion meant for SMEs in the state.
The Director, who told the Court that his job is to develop SMEs through his department, said when they visited Plateau, they could not trace any staff of the SSPV to relate with.
According to him, the SSPV is the structure that is supposed to coordinate the SMEs in Plateau state.
Under Examination in Chief by the prosecuting Counsel of EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), Mr. Mudashiru, told the court that the coordinating roles of the SSPV include:
- Sourcing for the beneficiaries of the CBN program.
- Working with the Participating Financial Institutions (PFIs) and,
- Monitoring and forwarding reports.
The EFCC, through Mr. Mudashiru tendered 20 exhibits in this respect.
Mr. Mudashiru said, “There is SSPV created on paper by Governor Jang as he then was, as no official of the alleged SSPV could be reached during CBN visit.
“The state account also does not show disbursement of the N2billion for the SMEs to beneficiaries but an actual diversion of public funds against the MoU it signed with the CBN.
“The complaint here is that the fund was not distributed to expected beneficiaries but diverted.
“Since the objective of the CBN was not achieved, the public would believe that the CBN may have connived with the Plateau State Government, led then by Sen. Jang.
“It was therefore recommended that:
- The Bank should communicate its findings to the Plateau State Government.
- The CBN should stop disbursing the fund to the State Government and
- From the recommendations, the CBN should start disbursing directly to identified PFIs and not the state Government.
“Our finding is that the funds were not disbursed according to the MoU and not within the 5 working days as recommended.
However under Cross Examination by Robert Clarke SAN, who led S.G. Odey (Esq) and 7 other Lawyers, Mr. Madashiru said he does not have knowledge of Budget or Finance but that he is a Specialized SME developer.
When asked what the Plateau State Government under Jang spent the money on, Mr. Mudashiru said, “I don’t know the purpose it was spent!”
Adding that, “I don’t know if the money was paid to the personal account of the accused (Sen. Jang).”