A former governor of Gombe state, Sen. Danjuma Goje on Thursday said the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) withdrew the two remaining corruption charges against him to save the face and resources of government.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had since 2011 filed a 21-count charge against Goje, but 19 of the charges were struck out in March 2019, leaving only two counts.
On June 7, this year, the case was handed over to the AGF office. The two counts, Daily Trust reports were bordering on how 50 buses belonging to Gombe State Transport Company were sold during Goje’s reign in Gombe.
A Federal High Court had on July 5 quashed the two remaining counts charge. Justice Babatunde Quadiri, the Presiding Judge, in a judgment, discharged Goje , after the AGF office applied for it.
Speaking through his counsel, Paul Erokoro, SAN, Goje said the AGF withdrew the charges, because, “ it has become more of persecution than prosecution.
“ The two count charges that were withdrawn by the Attorney-General were an embarrassing triviality. The charges had become more of persecution than prosecution. It was therefore no surprise to those familiar with the case when the Attorney-General of the Federation withdrew those ridiculous charges.”
“ The Attorney-General did the right thing and should be commended for saving the face and the resources of the government, by terminating the futile proceedings,” he said via a statement issued to newsmen in Abuja.
He said as every adult in Nigeria knows, the sale of unserviceable vehicles is a routine exercise periodically undertaken by the government and even by private organisations.
He said: “ This is the first time that the authority of a governor to approve such a sale has been made the subject of a criminal charge.”
“ The overused buses, many of which had become scraps, had been in use as commercial passenger vehicles for 7 to 8 years. The buses were valued by a proper Board of Survey at the cumulative sum of N22.5m. That value was realised from the sale and the proceeds were paid into the account of the Gombe State Government.”
“ The prosecution witnesses all testified that the procedure was proper and that the Governor did not buy any of the buses and took no benefit personally from the sale”, he added.
The star witness of the Prosecution, a senior EFCC operative who headed the investigation, told the court that throughout their investigation, no money belonging to the Gombe State Government was traced to the Governor, his family members or associates.
The witnesses also testified that the Governor was a prudent manager of Government funds and that it was he who even introduced Due Process into procurement procedures in Gombe State.