Senator Danjuma Goje has described the recently-scrapped fraud charges against him as an “embarrassing triviality” that should have never occurred.
Early this month, the Federal High Court in Jos discharged the ex Gombe State governor of the corruption charges filed against him after the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) applied for the withdrawal of the two charges that were part of an original 21 charges.
EFCC had charged Goje with 21 counts for allegedly misappropriating N25 billion while he ruled as governor.
However, in a recent statement signed by his counsel, Paul Erokoro Goje said the charges were more of a persecution than prosecution.
He said, “The two remaining counts challenged the Governor’s power to approve the recommendation of the Commissioner of Finance that the old, unserviceable buses of Gombe Line, be sold to the public, following the purchase of new ones.
“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. 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.
“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.
“The two counts of the charge that were withdrawn by the Attorney-General were an embarrassing triviality.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.”