For stepping down for Lawan, FG withdraws corruption charges against Goje

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Almost a month after a former governor of Gombe State, Danjuma Goje stepped down for Lawan Ahmad for the Senate Presidency election, the Federal Government has withdrawn the corruption charges against him.

On Friday, a Federal High Court sitting in Jos, Plateau State, quashed the remaining two counts charge preferred by the Federal Government against Goje.

The Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation was said to have applied on Thursday evening for the withdrawal of the charges.

Goje is standing trial along with a former Executive Chairman of the state’s Universal Basic Education Board, Aliyu El-Nafaty; and S.M. Dokoro for alleged N5bn fraud. A fourth defendant, the ex-governor’s cousin, Sabo Tumu, who is now late was removed from the charge sheet.

But the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation took over the case filed against him from the EFCC on June 7.

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The takeover came after Goje agreed to step down for Ahmed Lawan in the race for the position of the Senate President.

Goje had come under intense pressure from the ruling All Progressives Congress and the Presidency to drop his bid to pave the way for Lawan, who was the preferred candidate of the party for the position.

However, when the case came up for hearing on Friday, the counsel from the OAGF, Pius Akutah, told the court that, “My Lord, we have an application having taken over the case and reviewed the 21 count charges of no submission and by the ruling of this court quashed 19 leaving only two count charges in which they are to enter defence.

“As it is, the Federal Ministry of Justice wishes to withdraw those two charges against the accused persons. This action is in line with the power vested in the AGF by virtue of Section 128 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 particularly sub section 1 of that section (128).

“It’s in accordance with the power vested in the AGF by the constitution that we wish to withdraw the charges before your Lordship. This is our humble application and (we) urge your Lordship to grant our application.”

Since the defence team did not object, the judge said pursuant to Section 174(1) particularly sub-section (b) and coupled with Section 108 (2) of 2015, “the application by the AGF to withdraw the charges is hereby granted.” “The accused persons are hereby discharged.”

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