From Ado Abubakar Musa, Jos
The defence counsel of the former governor of Gombe State, Senator Danjuma, Goje, Paul Erokoro, has told the Economic Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) to stop witch hunting the former governor, Alhaji Sambo Mohammed Tumu and three others, who have been facing an 18-count charge amounting to N25 billion at Jos Federal High Court presided by Justice Benjamin O. Quadri.
The defense counsel’s reaction came following a request for adjournment by prosecution’s counsel Wahab Shittu after his witness Mrs Yetunde Ofili, Principal Manager, Development Finance unit, Central Bank of Nigeria was asked to provide a written consent letter indicating that the state has change its earlier request on lending the money for seedling purposes to fertilizers by the Gombe state government through Union Bank that was claimed to be sent to CBN.
During the last sitting on 21st June, 2017, EFCC has presented four witnesses who were brought to testified against Senator Goje’s administration of misappropriating Gombe state’s N5 billion loan that was granted by the state’s house of assembly to complete infrastructure in the state and N1.4 billion contract for the supply of dictionaries to the primary and junior secondary schools in the state through the State Universal Basic Education Board, (SUBEB).
EFCC claimed that Goje diverted the N1.4 billion loan that was supposed to be lend to farmers to purchase seedlings and not fertilizer, arguing that a written must be given which the EFCC claimed that it wasn’t been sent to CBN.
But during cross examination by the Goje’s lawyer, Paul Erokoro, Yetunde confirmed that CBN has also received a consent letter for approval from Union bank via Email requesting that the money would then be used to buy fertilizer instead of lending the money to the farmers for seedlings.
The EFCC prosecuting lawyer, Wahab Shittu requested for his witness to present an approval letter that indicated that the state government has written the consent letter, which the EFCC witness stated that she wasn’t with the letter, because she wasn’t aware that such letter would be asked while in court.
Erokoro said it is ridiculous that EFCC are still pursuing the matter without basic facts and urged them to stop wasting tax payers’ money in bringing witness, because for seven years the EFCC has known about the said document and didn’t ask for it till after its witness has finished given evidence, adding that “They are wasting time, and the witness has given the evidence that is bad for their case.”
The EFCC’s counsel, Shittu urged Erokoro to stop scandalizing and denigrating EFCC.
He said, “I am coming from Lagos and I am not enjoying coming to Jos and we have sacrificed a lot, for now let her provide the said document.”
The case has been adjourned to 20thand 21st November, this year.