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Goje’s Trial: Judge absent in Court, Former Governor, Now Senator facing 25 Billion Naira fraud Case

By JOHN BULUS
Gombe— Journalists and members of the public who came to the Federal High Court, Gombe, yesterday, to hear the continuation of the trial of former governor of Gombe State, Alhaji Muhammadu Goje, were disappointed, as they met an empty court.

Counsel to the former governor, Chief Adeniyi Akintola, SAN, had earlier written to the court that his client, Goje, would not be available in court, citing a medical trip abroad as his reason.

Similarly, it was also learnt that the trial Judge, Justice Olaide Quadri, travelled for a workshop and only resumed same day.

Goje, who is at present, serving as a senator, is facing an 18- count charge of conspiracy and money laundering along with Alhaji Aliyu El-Nafarty (former Chairman, Gombe State Universal Basic Education Board), Alhaji Sambo Mohammed Tumu (the ex- governor’s cousin and food supplier to Government House) and S.M. Dakoro, a businessman.

They were said to have conspired to defraud the state of about N25 billion which represented proceeds of illegal acts, contrary to and punishable under Sections 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition Act) 2011 as amended.

At the last sitting last December 9, defence counsel, Akintola, had argued that his clients had no case to answer, adding that the former governor, for instance, was given executive powers by the constitution to act executively, by fiat, even in the award of contracts or appropriation of funds without reporting to anybody.

Akintola further said that the charge was based on anonymous but fictitious petitions which he referred to as ‘’beer parlour gossip.’’

However, the prosecuting counsel, Mr. Wahab Shittu, urged the court to disregard the submissions by Akintola, contending that the prosecution had enough evidence to prove its case against the accused persons.
The case was, however, adjourned till Tuesday.
Culled from Vanguard

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