Former governor of Gombe State, Senator Danjuma Goje, has explained reasons why the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation withdrew criminal charges against him.
It would be recalled that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had since 2011 filed a 21-count charge against Goje, but 19 of the charges were struck out in March 2019, leaving only two counts.
On June 7, this year, the case was handed over to the AGF office which withdrew the criminal case against the former governor which generated public outcy.
However, speaking through his counsel, Paul Erokoro, ( SAN), he said following a spate of inaccurate and untrue reports in the media on the withdrawal of criminal charges ,against him, it has become necessary for the correct facts to be publicly stated, to avoid genuine misunderstanding by well-meaning commentators and also expose the malicious insinuations of mischief makers.
First of all, he noted that the so-called “N25b fraud” that has been bandied about in the media, never featured in the case stating that the sum total of all the monies mentioned in the charge was about N8b.
Of that total, Senator Goje explained that N5b was a loan taken from Access Bank for completion of infrastructural projects such as the Gombe airport, waterworks, numerous roads, Gombe Jewel Hotels, schools, hospitals and rural electrification.
He said the bank testified in Court that the money was properly utilized for the projects. The EFCC investigators also confirmed to the Court that the projects were all completed.
He said “On the N1b agricultural loan, the Central Bank testified in Court that the loan was utilised in full compliance with the bank’s loan conditions.
“Other witnesses told the Court that the Governor never awarded any contract for the supply of food to Government House and Government Guest Houses during his tenure for the N1b alleged in the charge or for any other sum.
“On the N1.6b for the supply of English Dictionaries for primary and secondary schools, the Court was told that UBEC gave its approval and that the contract was advertised in two newspapers and that reputable book publishers and suppliers tendered and that SUBEB awarded the contract to the lowest bidder.
“As can be seen from the above, the 19 counts of the Charge that were framed around the above monetary issues collapsed during the trial. The prosecution’s own witnesses completely exonerated the defendants. It was this reason that the 19 counts were all dismissed by the court, on the No Case submission.”
While stating that the two counts of the charge that were withdrawn by the Attorney-General were an embarrassing triviality, he added that the charges had become more of persecution than prosecution.
“It was therefore no surprise to those familiar with the case when the Attorney-General of the Federation withdrew those ridiculous charges. The Attorney-General did the right thing and should be commended for saving the face and the resources of the government, by terminating the futile proceedings,” he added.