By: Valentine Adese (JP),
Plateau State High Court has marked and rejected the professional statements obtained from, Mr. Yusuf Pam, a Cashier, who worked in the office of the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) and the 2nd Defendant in the case between the Federal Government and Sen. Jonah Jang, being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The Court presided over by, Hon. Justice C. Dabub, while relying on the evidence of Mr. Pam agreed that, the statements were obtained under duress, especially, when the prosecution did not contravene the claims of the Defendant.
The Court also in its ruling today, while determining whether the statements obtained from, Mr. Pam the 2nd Defendant was made voluntarily held that, “the process adopted were in violation of the provisions of the Evidence Act, the Criminal Administration Law and the Criminal Justice Act”.
The Court said, this cannot be denied by the Prosecution because, “As at the time these statements were obtained, the Act and the Law were operational and has the force of Law and non-compliance would be fatal”.
The Court also held that, the several slaps received by the Defendant, while the statements were being obtained by the EFCC was an issue.
Hon. Justice Dabub added that, “It is therefore the duty of the Prosecution to show that, the statements were obtained voluntarily. Therefore, all the annexed professional statements obtained from the 2nd Defendant are marked tendered and rejected”.
You would recall that, the trial within trial in the matter commenced, owing to the objection raised by Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), S. Oyawole (Esq) the Defense Counsels, for the 1st Defendant, Sen. Jonah Jang and 2nd Defendant, Mr. Yusuf Pam, respectively, as the Prosecuting Counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAB) attempted to tender the statements through Sunday Musa one of EFCC’s witness.
You would also recall that, REALITY had reported that, Mr. Yusuf Pam, who is the 2nd Defendant in the matter concerning the alleged looting and mismanagement of Plateau State funds, a charge brought against him and the former governor of Plateau State, Sen. Jang by the EFCC, in Examination-in-Chief by his Counsel S. A. Oguntuyi (Esq) told the Court that, he made the statements after he received slaps from one Mr. Sunday Musa, the IPO handling the matter at the EFCC’s headquarters in Abuja.
Yusuf also added that, he was forced to corporate to write the statement in the way of the EFCC, as the process used to obtain the statement was a question and answer session.
Yusuf disclosed to the Court that, he was deprived of his drugs, despite making the IPOs know that he is a hypertensive and diabetic patient. Rather, he was taken to an underground cell in the Headquarters to put him under compulsion to corporate with the IPOs of the EFCC, who questioned him in their open office at the headquarters having over 13 desks.
He lamented that, even when he told and pleaded with the IPO, Mr. Sunday, to allow him make a call to his children over the death and burial of his wife, he refused and this kept him under pressure to cooperate with the IPOs.
Lamenting the situation before the Court, Mr. disclosed that, he is still suffering the trauma to date.
Under Cross-Examination by EFCC’s lead Counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), Mr. Pam told the Court that, he wrote the 7 statements obtained from him within 6 hours because of the EFCC and that, the Six (6) hours being talked about, runs for over 16months of him coming and going from the EFCC’s headquarters and getting involved in two fatal accidents on his way.
Pam said, several of his comments during the last trial in the Plateau State Court then presided over by, Hon. Justice Longji (Rtd), are not in the statement he was confronted with by the EFCC’s Counsel.
You would recall that, a trial within trial arouse as the EFCC attempted to tender the statements obtained from Mr. Yusuf Pam at the EFCC’s headquarters Abuja.
In another development, the hearing of the substantive case came up today, with EFCC’s witness Mr. Sunday testifying, but was stalled, owing to a pending ruling before the Court.