Saturday 6 July 2019

SENATE PRESIDENCY: FG Withdraws Corruption Charges Against Danjuma Goje

FG withdraws corruption charges against Danjuma Goje
The Nigerian government has withdrawn the corruption charges it filed against Senator Danjuma Goje, over alleged mismanagement of funds when he was the Governor of Gombe State. 

The application to withdraw the corruption charges against Goje which was granted by a Federal High Court in Jos, came weeks after he agreed to step down for Ahmed Lawan as Senate President.

Daily Trust reported that an official from the office of the Attorney General of the Federation, Pius Akutah, filed the application to withdraw the charges against Mr Goje before the court on Friday.

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“My Lord, we have an application has taken over the case and reviewed the 21 count charges of no submission and by the ruling of this court quashed 19 leaving only two count charges in which they are to enter a defence.

“As it is, the Federal Ministry of Justice wishes to withdraw those two charges against the accused persons This action is in line with the power vested on the AGF by virtue of section 128 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 particularly subsection 1 of that section (128).”

“It’s in accordance with the power vested on the AGF by the constitution that we wish to withdraw the charges before your Lordship. This is our humble application and urges your Lordship to grant our application,” the official reportedly said. 

The application which was not opposed by Senator Danjuma Goje’s counsel, Adeniyi Akintola, was granted by Justice Babatunde Quadri. 

“The application by the AGF to withdraw the charges is hereby granted. The accused persons are hereby discharged,” he said.

Goje who had indicated interest to run for the senate presidency in the 9th Assembly on Thursday abruptly stepped down for Senator Ahmed Lawan, President Buhari’s anointed candidate for the seat.
The move came days after the president vowed not to interfere with the leadership selection of the 9th Assembly
In the frenzy of last-minute efforts for the president and his allies to have their way and say in what happens in the Senate, Presidency sources who spoke to SaharaReporters revealed that the major bargaining chip for Goje was to get the president who is championing a so-called anti-corruption fight to exonerate him from financial impropriety in a two-fold manner which is to quash the case outright for lack of merit or to reassign the case to a new trial judge in other to prolong and weaken the case.
The Federal High Court which will sit in Jos on Friday will be presided over by Justice Babatunde Quadri.
A source within the EFCC confirmed to SaharaReporters that the lawyers for the EFCC in the matter are currently in Jos and have been put on standby for a directive from the presidency on Friday morning.
The office of the attorney-general had also been notified by Buhari to await a directive on whether to withdraw (nolle prosequi) or completely reassign the case.
Last April, the EFCC had filed a cross-appeal at the court of appeal sitting in Jos, against the judgment of a federal high court in Gombe State that partially upheld a no-case submission by the former governor-turned senator.
The anti-corruption agency is trying Goje and two others — Alhaji Aliyu El-Nafaty and Dokoro Gombe (alias S.M Dokoro) — on an amended N5 billion fraud charge.
The EFCC believed Goje, between September and November 2010, forged a document titled, ‘Resolution authorizing His Excellency the Executive Governor of Gombe State to acquire a loan of N5,000,000,000.00 only’, with Ref. No: GM/HA/RES/VOL. 1/17.
That resolution was alleged to have been signed by Shehu Atiku, Clerk of the Gombe State House of Assembly, with the intent that it be acted on as a genuine document by Access Bank Plc leading to a N5 billion-facility being obtained from the bank by the Goje administration “for infrastructural projects”.

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