Senator Danjuma Goje, has said he had never faced a N25 billion corruption charge preferred by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Goje, the senator representing Gombe Central at the National Assembly, disclosed this in Abuja on Thursday in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
His denial is, however, running contrary to a story published by the EFCC on their website in 2013 which clearly stated that the former Gombe State Governor was standing trial along four others for 25 billion alleged fraud.
The story on the EFCC website reads in part: “The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC has urged Justice B.O. Quadri of the Federal High Court, Gombe, to discountenance the opposition of Sambo Muhammad Tumu to the admissibility of his statement which he claimed was obtained involuntarily.
“Tumu, a food supplier to Gombe State Government House alongside the erstwhile governor of Gombe State, Muhammad Danjuma Goje and four others are facing a N25 billion conspiracy and money laundering charge brought against them by EFCC.
“At the resumed hearing of the case on Tuesday 14th and Wednesday 15th May 2013, his counsel Paul Erokoro, SAN insisted the statement of his client should not be admitted in evidence”.
However, in a statement signed by Mr Paul Erokoro, lawyer to the senator, Goje said the claim was “inaccurate and untrue”.
Erokoro was reacting to recent reports in the media that corruption charge being faced by the senator were withdrawn following his decision to step down from the Senate president race in June.
He insisted that the actual amount mentioned in the charge was N9 billion.
“The so-called ‘N25 billion fraud’ that has been bandied about in the media, never featured in the case. The sum total of all the monies mentioned in the charge was about N8 billion.
“Of that total, N5 billion was a loan taken from Access Bank for completion of infrastructural projects such as the Gombe airport, waterworks, numerous roads, Gombe Jewel Hotels, schools, hospitals and rural electrification.
“The bank testified in court that the money was properly utilised for the projects. The EFCC investigators also confirmed to the Court that the projects were all completed.”
On the N1 billion agricultural loan, he said that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had testified in court that the loan was utilised in full compliance with the bank’s loan conditions.
“Other witnesses told the court that the governor never awarded any contract for the supply of food to Government House and Government Guest Houses during his tenure for the N1 billion alleged in the charge or for any other sum.
“On the N1.6 billion for the supply of English Dictionaries for primary and secondary schools, the Court was told that Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) gave its approval and that the contract was advertised in two newspapers and that reputable book publishers and suppliers tendered and that State Universal Basic Education Board awarded the contract to the lowest bidder.”
He said all the 19 counts of the charge around the above monetary issues collapsed during the trial.
He said because the prosecution witnesses completely exonerated the defendants the 19 counts were dismissed by the court on the ground of no case submission.
He added that the star witness of the prosecution, a senior EFCC operative who headed the investigation, told the court that throughout their investigation, no money belonging to the Gombe State government was traced to the governor, his family members or associates.