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FG withdraws corruption charges against Danjuma Goje

Valentine Chinyem

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A federal high court sitting in Jos, the Plateau state capital, has discharged the corruption charges brought against former Gombe State governor, Danjuma Goje.

It is understood that the office of the attorney-general of the federation (AGF) on Friday, applied for the withdrawal of the charges.

Recall that in 2011, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had filed charges against Goje and one, Aliyu El-Nafaty, a former executive chairman of the state’s Universal Basic Education Board, for an alleged N25 billion fraud.

However, last month, the EFCC, announced it is pulling out of the case, after Goje, who is currently the senator representing Gombe central, withdrew his candidature from the senate presidential race, subsequently endorsed Ahmad Lawan, after a private meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari and Kaduna State governor Nasir El-Rufai.

It is also understood that Ahmed Lawan is the annointed candidate of the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC), and has since emerged as senate president.

“My Lord, we have an application having 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 defence,” said, Pius Akutah, a counsel from the AGF’s office.

“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 in 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 in the AGF by the constitution that we wish to withdraw the charges before your Lordship. This is our humble application and urge your Lordship to grant our application.”

Adeniyi Akintola, Goje’s counsel, did not oppose the application but asked the judge to acquit the former governor of the charges.

“But we are urging your Lordship to evoke the provision of section 2(a)(b) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 and acquit them of the charges,” Akintola said.

“The same section gives your Lordship the discretionary power to make an order for the accused persons to be discharged and acquitted. My Lord has the power under Section III.

“As we urge your Lordship to consider our humble application, we wish to thank you for your patience with us since 2011 when we started this journey on the case. We also wish to commend the AGF for (the) wise decision in bringing this case to an end.”

Delivering his ruling, the presiding judge, Babatunde Quadri, granted the application by the AGF to withdraw the charges.

“The accused persons are hereby discharged,” he said.

Recall that Senator representing Borno South, Ali Ndume, had refused to step down for the ruling party’s annointed candidate, Ahmed Lawan, after a similar meeting with the president and had gone ahead to contest the Senate President seat.

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