Goje: EFCC Kicks Against Transfer of Case

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has opposed the request by former Gombe State governor, Danjuma Goje to transfer his trial for conspiracy and money laundering from the Federal High Court Gombe to Abuja. Goje and five others (Aliyu El-Nafaty, Sambo Tumu, S.M. Dokoro and S.M. Dokoro Gombe) are standing trial before Justice Babatunde O. Quadri. At today sitting, the defence team led by Chris Uche, SAN drew the court’s attention to the letter written to the Chief Justice of the Federation for change of venue and transfer of the case from the present court in Gombe to Abuja or any other jurisdiction outside Gombe state for security reasons. He urged the court to suspend proceedings while awaiting the directive from the CJN, before hearing of the pending application. But prosecution Counsel, Wahab Shittu objected, saying the court can continue with the matter pending any response from the CJN.

Justice Quadri upheld the prosecution’s argument and urged both counsel to consider the stress of coming from outside Gombe and seize the opportunity of time.

Arguing his motion for transfer before the court,  Chris Uche, SAN quoted sections of the Federal High Court Act 2004 and the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to support his motion. He predicated his request on the grounds that the matter is a high profile one and that the security situation in the North East zone with regularly reported incidents of killings, kidnappings, bomb blasts and assassinations underline the need to protect the lives of the accused persons and their lawyers.

In his response, Shittu, called the court’s attention to the fact that in all the proceedings prior to the application, there had been no incident in court to warrant the request for transfer. According to Wahab, “this application lacks merit and only determined to delay the wheel of justice and your lordship is entitled to resist it”. He further queried the intention of the defence: “What is the application saying, that your lordship should transfer this case to Abuja? The presumption is that Abuja is safe to hear this case. Do we believe them? Or is the applicant saying that the case should be transferred to the Villa since they deposed in paragraph 13 of their affidavit that the last Independence Day was moved out of its traditional place – the Eagle Square -to the villa for security reasons?”

Shittu urged the court to throw out the application as acceding to it would be tantamount to setting a precedence which may encourage other persons with cases before the court to seek transfer of their cases to choice places.

Justice Quadri has fixed ruling on the matter for tomorrow, January 23, 2013.

.. …Arraigns Bureau De Change Operator Over  N15.8m Scam

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Tuesday January 22, 2013 arraigned one Nasiru Wada Kura before Justice Dije Abdu Aboki of Kano State High Court on one count charge bordering on conversion of fund to the tune of N15.8million.

The accused person allegedly converted the sum entrusted to him by one Alhaji Alkasim L. Bako to personal use.

The charge reads: “that you Nasiru Wada Kura and Babban Karofi Bureau De Change Limited sometime in December, 2011 at Kano within the Jurisdiction of the High Court of Kano State while being Bureau de change operator and entrusted with the sum of N15,800,000.00 (Fifteen Million Eight Hundred Thousand Naira Only) by Alhaji Alkasim L. Bako converted the money to your own personal use contrary to section 308 of the Penal Code and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 309 of the Penal Code”.
The accused pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Defence counsel, I.T Jibrin moved an oral application for bail which was opposed by the prosecuting counsel, M.S Abubakar, insisting on a formal bail application by the defendant.
Justice Aboki agreed with the prosecuting counsel and urged the defense to present a formal bail application.
The presiding judge consequently adjourned proceedings to February 6, 2013 for hearing of bail application and ordered that the accused be remanded in prison custody.

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