After a long battle in court with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) spanning almost 8 years over an alleged fraud of N25 billion, the former governor of Gombe state now a Senator representing Gombe Central in the 9th assembly, Danjuma Goje, maybe enjoying some form of political immunity since his case file was transferred from the EFCC to the office of the AGF on alleged instructions from the Aso Rock Villa.
With charges bordering on conspiracy, money laundering and embezzlement of funds belonging to Gombe state government, the EFCC earlier arraigned senator Goje on offences relating to the fraudulent supply of food items to government house and public auction of government vehicles.
Goje on January 25, 2019, we learned denied the 21 count allegations which the commission has been prosecuting for almost eight years and asked that the case be struck out. Surprisingly, a new twist was introduced when the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, Abubakar Mallami, was reported to have taken over the case from the EFCC allegedly on orders from his masters.
This was evident when the case came up for an emergency hearing before Justice Babatunde Quadri of the Federal High Court II in Jos, as the EFCC’s counsel Mr Wahab Shittu notified the court that he was withdrawing from the case and handing it over to the office of the AGF in response to the appearance of a counsel representing the AGF office.
According to sources within the commission, there was no justification for the takeover except to fuel rife speculations that the case is being tailored to meet “political considerations” as in previous cases taken over by the AGF office. The timing between the handover of the case to the AGF’s office and the immediate drop out of Goje from the senate President race further heightened the situation especially when the AGF’s office finally applied to withdraw the remaining two charges after 19 were dismissed.
However, the move which generated a lot of negative reactions ironically had a soft landing as sources further disclosed that the erstwhile governor allegedly had a meeting with President Buhari in Aso Rock where the number one citizen personally gave orders that Goje’s N25bn fraud case be withdrawn. It is speculated that this was the condition Goje gave Buhari for supporting Ahmed Lawan to emerge as Senate President.
Following this development, a group Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) after threatening to embark on a demonstration also revealed that the action of the Federal Government confirmed the suspicion that Goje’s trial was waved aside because he decided to step down as a contestant for the Senate President in deference to President Muhammadu Buhari and the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) leaders’ preferred choice, Senator Ahmad Lawan.