22 November 2017

Nigeria: Goje Laments Multiple Adjournments of Fraud Case Against Him

Jos — Chief Adeniyi Akintola (SAN), counsel to Senator Danjuma Goje in the ongoing case of allegation of fraud against the senator, yesterday said that Goje and three others were being tried for alleged N6billion, and not N25billion fraud.

Speaking shortly after proceedings at a Federal High Court in Jos, the defence counsel expressed dismay that the press erroneously reported N25bn as the amount in contention in the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) case against his clients.

The EFCC had in 2012 arraigned Goje and three other principal officers in his then administration for alleged conspiracy and defrauding Gombe State government of about N6 billion via illegal acts.

The commission claimed that their actions were contrary to, and punishable under sections 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition Act) 2011 as amended.

The case came up yesterday after which Akintola said: "I want to put the records straight today in respect to the amount you pressmen have been reporting; the amount involved here in this EFCC case is just about N6billion and not N25billion as widely reported.

"And like you saw for yourselves, virtually all the prosecution witnesses, 23 of them have been testifying in favour of Goje.

"The way and manner they give evidences is as if they are defense witnesses, and this, we are so pleased about, because to our understanding the EFCC have nothing tangible against Goje," he stated.

Akintola lamented the continue application for adjournment by the EFCC counsel led by Mr. Wahab Shittu.

According to him, yesterday's adjournment marked the 16th adjournment so far requested by the prosecution counsel, whom he accused of prolonging the case unnecessary.

But Shittu in response, debunked the claim that the prosecution counsel were deliberately prolonging the case.

He said: "In fact, today alone we took five witnesses to show the court how serious we are concluding prosecuting this case as quick as possible."

Shittu explained that "if not because my last three witnesses are not around, we would have closed our case today, but since they are not around, I have taken an adjournment.

"I am of the belief that when next we come to court we shall take the three witnesses and round up for the defense to open their defense."

Shittu had yesterday applied for an adjournment to enable him catch up with a flight to Lagos where he has a case today with the pledge to bring his last three witnesses in the next adjournment.

With objection from the defence counsel, the judge adjourned the case for December 6 and 7, 2017 to take the remaining prosecution witnesses.


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