By Our Reporter
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Sunday, explained why it has handed over the case of alleged N25 billion fraud against former Gombe state governor, Senator Danjuma Goje, to the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation.
EFCC’s spokesman, Tony Orilade, who confirmed the withdrawal of the commission from Goje’s prosecution almost eight years after the former governor entered its black book, argued that the OAGF has the constitutional power to take over any criminal case from EFCC at any stage of investigation.
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 was “exactly what has happened” in Goje’s case.
Orient Daily gathered that the OAGF, last Friday, took over the case of alleged N25 billion fraud filed against Goje, the senator representing Gombe Central Senatorial Zone under the All Progressives Congress, (APC).
The twist in Goje’s corruption case occurred barely 24 hours he agreed to step down for Senator Ahmad Lawan (APC-Yobe) in the race for the Senate President after a close-door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari.
Recall that the commission had been prosecuting the former Gombe governor, until last Friday. 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 before the new political development. When the case came up for an emergency hearing before Justice Quadiri, the EFCC counsel, Wahab Shittu, told the court that the agency was withdrawing from the case and handing it over 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, we have in court a State Counsel from the AGF’s office to formal take over of this case from us,” Shittu declared.
Paul Erokoro (SAN), did not object to the EFCC withdrawal and handing over of the case to the Attorney-General.
He said, “My Lord, we are not objecting to the anti-graft withdrawal and handing over the prosecution to the AG’s office.”
Pius Asika, counsel from the office of the Attorney General, however, announced his appearance for the case. Mr. Asika then applied for an adjournment to enable him to prepare for the case proper.