The N25 billion corruption charges filed against Danjuma Goje, former governor of Gombe state has been withdrawn, rules Justice Babatunde Quadri, of a federal high court in Jos, Plateau state.
On Friday, a counsel from the office of the attorney-general of the federation (AGF), Pius Akutah, applied to withdraw the charges against Goje.
He said: “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.”
“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, Justice Quadri granted the application by the AGF to withdraw the charges, saying “the accused persons are hereby discharged.”
In 2011, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had filed charges against Goje, who is currently the senator representing Gombe central, alongside Aliyu El-Nafaty, a former executive chairman of the state’s Universal Basic Education Board, for an alleged N25 billion fraud.