A former Speaker of the Plateau State House of Assembly, Istifanus Mwanswat and seven other former legislators of the same Assembly have been arraigned by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) before Justice Christian Ladi Dabup of Plateau State High Court 5, Jos for alleged conspiracy and abuse of office.
The former legislators arraigned with the former Speaker include: Honourable Joyce Ramnap, Honourable Emmanuel Goar, Honourable Joe Dawan, Honourable Dio Lamul, Honourable Michael Jubrin, Honourable John Clarck Dabwan and Honourable Dalyop Mancha.
All the accused persons were alleged to have diverted the sum of N40 million meant for running of the Assembly to their personal use.
The prosecuting counsel for ICPC, Isaac Jiya informed the Judge that sometime in 2011, the first accused person, Honourable Mwansat, while being the Speaker of the Assembly, allegedly used the sum of N6 million out of the Assembly’s fund for his personal purposes, thereby committing an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.
Jiya also told the Judge that by conspiring with the former Speaker, the second accused person, Honourable Joyce Ramnap, also diverted the sum of N4.4 million for her personal use, thereby committing an offence contrary to Section 26 and punishable under Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.
The erstwhile Speaker was also alleged to have aided 4 ex-legislators of the Assembly charged alongside him to divert the sum of N4.4 million each for their personal purposes while two others allegedly diverted N2.4 million each, thereby committing an offence contrary to Section 26 and punishable under Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.
All the accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charges levelled against them and applied for bail through their counsel, S.T Panwal and J.D Morolayo respectively.
Thereafter, the judge granted each accused person bail in the sum of N500,000 and a surety residing within the jurisdiction of the court or an original evidence of ownership of a landed property to be handed over to the court. The case was adjourned to 6th and 7th March 2018 for the commencement of hearing.
KEHINDE AKINTOLA, Abuja