The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has denied withdrawing from the corruption trial of former governor of Gombe State, Danjuma Goje. Instead, the anti-graft agency insisted that the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) is empowered by the Constitution to take over any criminal case, at any level of trial.
In an interview with The Guardian in Abuja yesterday, the acting spokesperson of the EFCC said, “We did not withdraw from any case, it is constitutional for the AGF to take over any criminal case at any level.”
When asked if the file was handed to the former Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami before he left office Orilade said: “It is not about Malami or any single individual, but the AGF is an office together with the Federal Ministry of Justice. So, whether anybody is there or not the office has the right to take over any criminal case.”Goje, a senator-elect, is being prosecuted for allegedly misappropriating N25b while in office as governor. The EFCC, which had been prosecuting him for about eight years, unexpectedly announced its withdrawal on Friday.
The EFCC’s decision came a day after Goje stepped down from the race for presidency of the 9th National Assembly, after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari.
According to reports on Friday, when Mr. Goje’s corruption trial came up for an emergency hearing before Justice Babatunde Quadri of the Federal High Court II in Jos, the EFCC counsel, Wahab Shittu, told the court the agency was withdrawing from the case and handing it over to the office of the AGF for continuation.
“My Lord, this case was earlier adjourned for June 20 for the 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 AGF’s office to formally take over this case from us,” the EFCC counsel was quoted as saying.