EFCC witness debunks commission evidence against Goje

THE case of allegation of conspiracy and money laundering against the former Governor of Gombe State, Senator Dajuma Goje took another dimension at the Federal High Court Jos, as a prosecution witness for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Mohammed Tukur, (marked as PW12), debunked allegations of fraud levelled against the former Governor by the Commission.

The witness, a former Accountant General of Gombe state told a Federal High Court I I, sitting in Jos, Plateau state presided over by Justice Babatunde Quadiri, that Goje was the first governor to introduce due process to the state.

There was drama as the prosecution witness turned around to defend the accused when he came under cross examination by Defence Counsel, Mr Paul Erokoro (SAN) adding that Goje proved himself as a good leader during his tenure.

The PW12, who was called by the EFCC to corroborate its charges told the Jos Federal High Court II that Sen Danjuma Goje was a man of financial prudence and was the first to introduce Due Process in Gombe State.

Goje, a former Governor of Gombe State, has been facing an 18- count charge of conspiracy and money laundering brought against him by the EFCC since 2012.  His counsels in the case included Chief Chris Uche, SAN and Mr Paul Erokoro, SAN.

Also being tried along with Goje are Alhaji Aliyu El-Nafarty, former Chairman, Gombe State Universal Basic Education Board, Alhaji Sambo Tumu, his cousin, who was contracted to supply food to the Government House, and one S.M. Dakoro, a businessman.

According to the EFCC, the quartet conspired to defraud the state of about N25 billion via illegal acts, contrary to, and punishable under sections 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition Act) 2011 as amended.

But the witness, Mr Mohammed Tukur, told the court during cross examination by Defence Counsel, Mr Paul Erokoro (SAN) that Goje proved himself as a good leader. “Alh Danjuma Goje was the first person to introduce due process and guidelines in Gombe state and throughout his tenure, he is a man of financial prudence and good leader.”

Another witness (PW13), Mrs Rukayatu Jallo, who had earlier told court while being cross examined by EFCC’s Counsel, Mr Wahab Shittu stated that that there was no mention of loan in all the budgets of Gombe, later affirmed that there were resolutions in the budgets to that effect   during cross examination by Erokoro.

Jallo, a Legal officer of Gombe House of Assembly, said, `Now that I have seen the sections in the budgets, I now agree that the issue of loan facilities both external and internal were included in all the budgets especially that of 2011 where the governor was entitled to a loan facility of N15 billion.’’

Another witness, Mr Musa Atiku, former Clerk of the House of Assembly, who had earlier told the court that the he did not sign the resolution for the N5 billion Access Bank loan facility, later acknowledged during cross examination that he did not protest the loan.

Erokoro had put it to him that he received a letter from the bank informing him of its readiness to grant the loan based on the resolution but he did not object by way of writing and he answered, “yes I didn’t.’’

“You never voice any objection at receipt of the banks letter, the defense counsel asked, and Atiku answered, “yes sir, I did not.’’

Shitti, who told the court that he had finished taking his five prosecution witnesses, told the court that he was done and would want an adjournment of the case.

At that point counsels to both parties jointly applied for the adjournment, Justice Quadiri, thereafter adjourned the case to Sept 25 and 26, 2017 for continuation of hearing.

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