A Federal High Court in Jos has struck out 19 out of the 21 charges preferred against former Gombe State governor, Danjuma Goje, and three others. The charges border on alleged misappropriation of funds, money laundering and diversion of N6.6 billion belonging to the state.
The former governor and the three others were in 2011 alleged to have committed the offences between 2007 to 2011.
Charged alongside Mr Goje were a former Executive Chairman of Gombe State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Aliyu El-Nafaty, a food supplier to the state government, Sabo Tumu, and an auctioneer, S.M Dokoro.
The Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), which is the prosecutor, alleged that Mr Goje misappropriated a N5 billion loan from Access Bank approved by the state House of Assembly for infrastructure development in the state.
Mr Goje was also accused of diverting another N1.4 billion for a contract for the supply of dictionaries to primary and junior secondary schools in the state through the SUBEB.
Delivering the judgement, Justice Babatunde Quadri said the evidence presented before the court and the prosecution witnesses did not link Mr Goje to misappropriation of funds or money laundering.
“Charge 1, 2, 3, 4, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 20, 19 and 21 which bordered on diversion, laundering and misappropriation were not proven by the prosecutor. We look at the ingredients of the offences,” the judge said.
The court, therefore, discharged Mr Goje and the three other defendants.
Justice Quadri also said the evidence before the court did not prove that Mr Goje laundered, diverted, misappropriated or awarded a N1.6 billion contract for the supply of dictionaries through SUBEB without due process.
The judge, however, ordered Mr Goje to defend himself on why he ordered the third defendant to auction 50 Toyota vehicles belonging to the state government.
The judge adjourned the case to May 8 for the continuation of hearing on the remaining two charges.