The office of the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, yesterday took over the prosecution of Senator Danjuma Goje from the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) for alleged money laundering during his tenure as governor of Gombe State.
The anti-graft agency had been on the case for years until yesterday when it handed it over to the office of the Attorney General.
The withdrawal of the EFCC from the case left many wondering if this was part of the deal reached with Goje when he withdraw from the race for the office of Senate President and backed the Senator Ahmed Lawal, who is favoured by the leadership of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) for the position.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports in Jos that for almost eight years, the EFCC had been prosecuting the former governor.
The case, which is before Justice Babatunde Quadiri of Jos Federal High Court II, had even gone to the Jos Court of Appeal over the remaining two counts out of the 21 charges filed against him by EFCC.
The Appellate Court is yet to fix a date for the hearing of the appeal.
When the case came up for an emergency hearing before Justice Quadiri yesterday, the EFCC Counsel, Mr. Wahab Shittu told the Court that the agency was withdrawing from the case and handing it over the office of the Attorney-General for continuation.
Shittu said: “My Lord, this case was earlier adjourned for June 20 for continuation of hearing, but then we are here today on the latest development on the matter.
“We as EFCC counsels are withdrawing from the matter and handing it over to the office of the Attorney-General for continuation with the prosecution.
“As you can see, in court today is a State Counsel from the AG’s office to formally take over this case from us.”
Responding, Mr. Paul Erokoro (SAN) did not object to the EFCC withdrawal and handing over of the case to the Attorney-General.
“My Lord we are not objecting to the anti-graft agency’s withdrawal and handing over the prosecution to the AG’s office, “ Erokoro said.
Counsel from the office of the Attorney General, Mr. Pius Asika went ahead to announce his appearance for the case.
Asika then applied for an adjournment to enable him prepare for the case proper “having come into the matter today (Friday).”
Justice Quadiri then adjourned to the case to June 21, 2019 for continuation of hearing.