The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has justified the taking over of the case of alleged N25 billion fraud filed against former Gombe State governor, Sen. Danjuma Goje by the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF).
The spokesperson of the commission, Mr. Tony Orilade, while speaking with newsmen in Abuja on Sunday, said the takeover of the case was right constitutionally.
According to Orilade, by virtue of the existing law, the office of the Attorney- General of the Federation has the power to take over any criminal case at any stage. “And that is exactly what has happened.”
Recall that office of the AGF had taken over the case of alleged N25 billion fraud filed against Sen. Goje (APC-Gombe Central).
Goje was, until recently, a contender for the post of the President of the Senate.
He withdrew from the race after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari and immediately endorsed his rival, Ahmad Lawan (APC, Yobe).
For almost eight years, the EFCC had been prosecuting the former governor until Friday, June 7. The case, which was before Justice Babatunde Quadiri of Jos Federal High Court II, had even gone to the Jos Court of Appeal over the remaining two count charges out of 21 filed against him by EFCC. The Appellate Court is yet to fix a date for the hearing of the appeal.
When the case came up for an emergency hearing before Justice Quadiri, the EFCC Counsel, Mr Wahab Shittu, told the Court that the agency was withdrawing from the case and handing it over to the office of the Attorney-General for continuation.
“My Lord, this case was earlier adjourned for June 20 for continuation of hearing, but then we are here today on the latest development on the matter.
“We as EFCC counsels are withdrawing from the matter and handing it over to the office of the Attorney-General for continuation with the prosecution.
“As you can see, in Court is a State Counsel from the AGF’s office to formally take over this case from us,” Shittu declared. Responding, Mr. Paul Erokoro (SAN), did not object to the EFCC withdrawal and handing over of the case to the Attorney-General.
“My Lord, we are not objecting to the anti-graft withdrawal and handing over the prosecution to the AGF’s office,“ Erokoro said.
Mr. Pius Asika, Counsel from the office of the attorney general, however, announced his appearance for the case. Asika then applied for an adjournment to enable him prepare for the case proper, “having come into the matter”.