By: Valentine Adese (JP),
Plateau State High Court presided over by, Hon. Justice C. Dabub, which is hearing the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) trial of Sen. Jonah Jang and Mr. Yusuf Pam by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over alleged looting and mismanagement of the state’s funds has slated 20th May, 2022 for adoption of Counsel’s Written Addresses on the on-going Trial Within Trial, caused by the 2nd Defendant’s objection of the tendering of his statements obtained from him by the ICPC in Abuja.
The court has also fixed the same 20th May, 2022 for the continuation of the hearing of the substantive matter.
You would recall that, REALITY had reported that, there was drama on Wednesday, 12/5/2022, at the trial of Sen. Jonah Jang and Mr. Yusuf Pam when the 2nd defendant, Mr. Yusuf Pam, caused the presided Judge, Hon. Justice C. Dabub, to again, commenced another trial within trail, when he objected to the tendering of his written statements, obtained by ICPC’s investigating officers when he was invited to Abuja for questioning.
Yusuf, through his Counsel, had told the Court that, the objection is based on the grounds that, the statements being challenged, were obtained under threats and pressure by the officers, when the statements were to be tendered in Court through, Mr. Taiwo Olorunjobi, one of the investigators of ICPC.
- A. Oguntuyi (Esq), Counsel to Mr. Yusuf Pam, had told the Court that, the objection is based on six grounds, among which is the threat used in obtaining the statements sought to be tendered by the Prosecuting Counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN).
Adding that, his client informed him of how he was mentally tortured, and brought down emotionally in order to obtain the statements sought to be tendered by the lead team investigator, Hajiya Fatima Mohammed and Taiwo Olorunjobi.
He said, “The statements were devoid of the free will of the 2nd Defendant, Mr. Yusuf Pam. It was obtained under pressure by the investigators by promises from the team leader, Hajiya Fatima and taken with total disregard to the Criminal Justice and Administrative Law currently in operation.
“My client therefore, calls and urged the court to put the statements to test”.
The Trial-Within-Trial which began immediately yesterday saw Mr. Pam and ICPC’s Investigator, Mr. Taiwo testifying.
In his testimony during Examination in Chief, conducted by Rotimi (SAN), the Prosecuting Counsel, Mr. Taiwoin in part, told the Count that, they never threatened Mr. Pam and that the exercise they had with him was more of an interview in a relaxed mood and in a conducive office in the headquarters of the ICPC.
He told the Court that, owing to the friendly relationship and environment on 17th November, 2016, Mr. Pam voluntarily came back to the Headquarters on the 23rd November, 2016, to give them more information on the matter they were investigating.
However, under Cross-Examination by the Defense Counsels for Jang and Pam, Mr. Taiwo told the court that, he never knew that, Mr. pam was sick and it was not true that, Fatiman made any promises to him to enable him cooperate with them.
He said Mr. Pam did not request for a lawyer or anybody to be with him during the interview, but that he was friendly to the extent that, he started giving them details of his personal bio-data.
Adding that, up till the time he is in the court room, he has not received any complaint of Mr. Pam on the allegations/complaints, from his Commission or any other source(s) and that, the last time he gave evidence before retired Justice Longji, Mr. Pam’s complaints were never up to six (6).
He also disclosed to the court that, Hajiya Fatima Mohammed has left the service of the ICPC and now residing in USA with her family, but that she took active part in obtaining the statements in question with him.
Adding that, “In all, I never heard that Fatima said she was going to detain Mr. Pam”.
On his part, while giving his testimony under Examination in Chief, conducted by S. A. Oguntuyi (Esq), Mr. Pam in part, told the court that, he was never formally invited directly by the ICPC’s investigators but that, it was a call from, one Habila Dung that made him to go to ICPC’s headquarters.
He explained to the Court that, Mr. Habila Dung informed him that his attention is need at ICPC and that he (Dung) was just coming from there and he was told to call him to report on the 17th of November, 2016.
According to him, he had no money on him hence, he requested for assistant from a fellow Civil Servant who took him to the ICPC’s headquarters, and that when they were waiting at the reception of the ICPC, his friend met an old school mate, Mr. L. Samuel, whom he was later introduced to.
Mr. Pam said, it was the messenger of Mr. Samuel that took him to the office of Hajiya Fatima.
“Hajiya now told me why I was invited and that I am under arrest. She said she would be asking me questions and I should give the answers that would suit her and that she would give me permission before I write.
“After dragging for a while, she now brought out the statement sheet. I was cautioned then asked to write my biography.
“She asked me a lot of questions and we dragged on, as I answer. She kept threatening me and she said, I either produce the money under investigation or tell them who I had given it to.
“I told her I have a permanent secretary whom I report to and who is the Accounting Officer.
“She said she knows of the Perm Sec and that he has given his own statement and that she expects my statement to be in line with his”.
TO BE CONTINUED……