A senior Advocate of Nigeria has said the seven years old Money Laundering and Financial misappropriation of N25 billion allegedly diverted by the former Governor ,Sen. Danjuma Goje was repaid back to Gombe state account.
A witness for the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC, Mr. Ayetunde Adebayo Philip gave this confirmation before Honourable, Justice B.O Quadri of the federal High Court Jos.
Mrs. Ofili the Head of Development finance Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has confirmed the repay of N1Billion CBN Argic loan facility to the Prosecuting witness counsel.
In case is of Federal Republic of Nigeria against Sen. Danjuma Goje and 3 orders, Barr. Paul Erokoro has told the court to strike out the case because it is just a mire political witch hunting of his client.
A Prosecution Witness (PW 18) from Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Wednesday told a Jos Federal High Court that the N1 billon Agricultural Loan facility issued to Gombe State in 2010 has been repaid.
Mrs. Yetunde Ofili, Principal Manager, CBN Development and Finance Department, who appeared as PW 18 in the N25 billion money laundering case against Sen. Danjuma Goje, said the Loan was obtained through Union Bank Plc and since been repaid to the apex bank on telling the court that the EFCC is pursuing an endless agenda.
EFCC alleged that Goje and three other principal officers in his eight years administration conspired to defraud the state government to the sum of about N25 billion via illegal acts, contrary to, and punishable under sections 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition Act) 2011 as amended.
The anti-graft agency had in its claims, accused Goje’s administration of diverting the N1 billion loan and diverting to use it for the purpose of purchasing fertilizers to farmers instance of seedlings which was earlier requested in 2010 but the counsel says the CBN could not approve so Gombe focus on fertilizers to improve yield.
However, when the case came up for hearing before the presiding Judge, Justice Babatunde Quadiri, Mrs Ofili told the court that during a re-examination by the Prosecution counsel, Mr Wahab Shittu, that , “from her understanding the Gombe followed the CBN guidelines in obtaining and utilizing the facility in accordance with their lay down guidelines.’’
She expressed her points that the former Governor sent a request through the office of SUBEB which was acknowledged that there is a communication vie email to her office which was compiled with.
According to her statement , What l know is that if there is any change in the utilization of the facility, the go between commercial bank must notify CBN of the change before the facility is release, that which they did via an e-mail message.
The PW18 says, “so, when the Union Bank wrote to us obliged them and the loan facility was released to the state in compliance with the Commercial Banking Credit Scheme Guidelines.’’
When Shittu asked for her to produce the e-mail letter permitting the change in the usage, the PW said she was not asked to bring it along, “so I don’t have it here with me but if they want it I will do that.’’
At this stage Shittu asked the court to adjourn the case to enable her bring the e-mail letter in the next adjourned date.
But the defence counsel, Mr Paul Erokoro (SAN), opposed the application on the ground that EFCC being the prosecution agency should have done that seven years ago and not now.
“My Lord, what the prosecution counsel was trying to do is to draw us back for what they failed to do long time ago and we should allow this kind of delayance to continue.
“What is in that e-mail that has to do with the defendants, because the person involved here is Union bank; I don’t know what he (Shittu) is trying to arrive at with this? Erokoro queried.
It was at this point that Ofili told the court that “for the purpose of clearance, that loan facility has been repaid, so whatever it was used for at the end, all we know is that our money has been repaid.’’
Ofili explained that in sometimes in November 2010, Union bank wrote to them that Gombe state government had written to it for change of usage of the facility following a letter dated Nov. 2, 2010 from the Agriculture Commission, Late Mallam David Albashi.
“The claimed the money will be used for settling unpaid fertilizer bill for that year since the facility came late after the raining season, which was to give to farmers for seedlings, Pesticides and others, ’’ she said.
But the Prosecution Counsel insisted that the e-mail be brought for the purpose of clarification that due process and guidelines were properly followed.
Erokoro however concurred and but that the prosecution witness is discharged since any person could bring the e-mail from the CBN beside her.
The Judge then discharged and witness and adjourned the case to Nov. 21st 22nd Sept, 2017 for continuation of hearing of the case.