The commencement of hearing on alleged misappropriation of funds by former Plateau State Governor, Senator Jonah Jang and one Yusuf Pam was yesterday stalled by the inability of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to present its witnesses in court, citing insecurity in the state.
Hearing was billed to commence yesterday, where the anti-graft agency was to produce its witnesses, but it could not.
Counsel to EFCC, Henry Ejiga said the security situation in the state could not allow the agency to produce its witnesses.
He maintained that there were instances when witnesses were gunned down, “so my Lord should take the matter of security serious.
Ejiga said, “We also want my Lord to understand that this is not a tactics to delay our prosecution.
“But for the respect for this court, we found it important to come; that’s the reason our lead Counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) is not in court.
“We urge my Lord for an adjournment”.
Responding, Counsel to the accused, Robert Clarke SAN, accompanied by Mike Ozekhome SAN, said, “Criminal trials are enjoined by the law to be speedy, because the accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
“My Lord, justice delayed is justice denied.
“We are surprise that the reason being given is because of the security situation in the state.
“If people like us can come from Lagos, and work into Jos freely, it is sad for EFCC to use security as an excuse”, he lamented.
“EFCC have arms and ammunition, it is a shame for EFCC, a custodian of security to be afraid to come.
“Haven arraigned us, why are the witnesses being held in EFCC custody?” the defence counsel asked.
According to Clarke, over the years, judges are blamed for delaying court cases, “I had to come on air to debunk such claims a few months,” stressing that “Counsels are culpable, and here is an example.
“However, Government is a powerful institution, that’s why I reluctantly agree for adjournment.
“We should have an affirmation that the next adjournment given should not be jettisoned”, he stressed.
In his ruling, Justice Daniel Longji said as sword of the law, the law will always take its course.
Longji acknowledged that security matter is important, but EFCC should not use that to prolong the matter.
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