The Federal High Court sitting in Jos, Plateau State has discharged the former Governor of Gombe State, Senator Danjuma Goje of 19 counts charges of the 21 leveled against him by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) in which he was accused of misappropriating N6.6 billion.
However, the Court found him liable on counts 8 and 9 which border on auction of 50 units of Toyota vehicles, without recourse to laid procedures of passing through Tender’s Board.
The former governor alongside former Executive Chairman, Gombe State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Alhaji Aliyu Ubandoma and Auctioneer, S.M Dokoro and two others were accused of money laundering, diversion and misappropriation of N6.6 billion belonging to Gombe State between 2007 and 2011.
The EFCC prosecuted Goje for misappropriating N5 billion loan from Access Bank that was approved by the state’s House of Assembly to complete infrastructure in the state and N1.4 billion contract for the supply of dictionaries to the primary and junior secondary schools in the state through the State Universal Basic Education Board, (SUBEB).
In his ruling yesterday, the trial judge, Justice Babatunde Quadiri said the EFCC witnesses brought before the court failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Goje, and three others committed the said offence, adding that the prosecution witnesses could not link Goje to any misappropriation of funds or money laundering when he was the governor of the state.
Justice Quadri said he could not find where Goje was found guilty of the 19 counts charges looking at the ingredients of the offences and therefore discharged him of the charges.
“From my review of the evidence provided by the EFCC witnesses, the four defendants are hereby discharged of the 21 counts charges levelled against them except count charge 8 and 9.
“There was no sufficient evidence to prove that the defendants forged the state House of Assembly letterhead to obtain a loan facility from Access Bank Plc and there was no evidence that the sum of N1.6 billion was transferred to a different account by the accused persons,” the judge held.
He told the defendants to prepare their defense for counts 8 and 9 which bordered on auction of vehicles belonging to Gombe State Government without due process.
On agreement by both parties, Justice Quadiri adjourned the case to May 8, 2019, for trial of the two counts.