Money Laundering: Goje’s Absence Stalls Trial

The absence of former governor of Gombe State, Danjuma Goje on Thursday November 8, 2012 stalled hearing in the 18 count charge of Conspiracy and Laundering instituted against him and four others: Alhaji Aliyu El –Nafarty (former Chairman Gombe State Universal Basic Board), Alhaji Sambo Mohammed Tumu and S.M. Dakoro (a businessman), the Economic and Crimes Commission.

At the last adjourned date, the trial judge, Justice Babatunde Quadri of the High Gombe had fixed 8th and 9th November, 2012 for accelerated hearing.

When the matter was mentioned, the prosecution was shocked that the 1st accused, Danjuma Goje was not . Lead Defence counsel Chris Uche SAN, produced a medical report purportedly issued the National Assembly Clinic Abuja, and signed one Dr. Yero S.I. as evidence that his client was not fit to be present . The report claim that Goje is under observation for “acute exacerbation of hypertension due to an underlying stress”.

Prosecution counsel, Wahab Shittu drew the ’s attention to fact that the prosecution witnesses were in and that the matter was specifically adjourned to November 8 to accommodate Danjuma Goje’s travel Hajj.

Shittu wondered how a person that travelled Arabia after the Hajj and attended a plenary session at the senate would find it difficult to travel to Gombe for a appearance.

He therefore demanded that the court issues a bench warrant arrest of the 1st accused person or adjourn for his appearance in court on Friday, November 9, 2012.

But Uche, SAN urged the court to adjourn proceedings as a criminal trial requires the presence of an accused person. Alternatively, he said the prosecution should strike the name of the 1st accused the charge and proceed with the trial of the other accused .

Shittu rejected the suggestion to strike out Goje the charge. “The charge will not be split they are interlinked and interrelated with all accused , also I do not intend and will not withdraw the charges against the accused now or forever the matter is determined on its merit the court”, he said.

He urged the court to be mindful of attempts to delay and scuttle the trial.

Justice B. O. Quadri however upheld the medical report, since, according to him, there was no contrary report from the prosecution; and adjourned proceedings till Tuesday 22nd and Wednesday 23rd January 2013.


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