Prosecution Witness Exonerates Goje over N5bn Gombe Loan

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Seriki Adinoyi in Jos
A prosecution witness in the Danjuma Goje’s alleged N25 billion fraud case on Tuesday told the Federal High Court that no kobo out of Gombe State N5 billon loan facility from Access Bank entered into Goje’s account.

Goje, a serving senator, has been facing an 18-count charge of conspiracy and money laundering since 2012 alongside Alhaji Aliyu El-Nafarty, Alhaji Sambo Mohammed Tumu, and S.M. Dakoro.

According EFCC, they were alleged to have conspired to defraud the state of about N25 billion being the proceeds of illegal acts, contrary to and punishable under Sections 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition Act) 2011 as amended.

But yesterday, the prosecution witness, Mr. Ifesineke Owafil, Compliant Officer of Access Bank Plc, told the court presided over by Justice Benjamin Quadiri in his testimony that the loan facility obtained by Gombe was disbursed to various banks and not to individuals.

Mr. Wahab Shittu, the EFCC prosecuting counsel, who had led the prosecution witness in confirming documents obtained from the bank, tendered the bank statements through which the loan was obtained and disbursed.

The witness testified to all the documents and so they were accepted in evidence by the court.
Owafil, who was being cross examined by Mr. Chris Uche (SAN), counsel to Goje, said the loan facility came in four tranches and distributed to different banks.

 When asked whether during the disbursement at any point, he saw where money was transferred to Goje or any of the accused persons, the witness said: “No, I didn’t see it.”

He added: “I have told you that our bank, Access Bank Plc, granted the loan facility after the former administration met the conditions of the bank.
“The money entered into two accounts of the state, FAAC and Capital Project accounts, which thereafter were disbursed to various banks.”

When asked what the loan was meant for as contained in the government’s letter to the bank, Owafil said: “It was meant for the development of the state with infrastructures such as Gombe International Airport and hospital, Tudun Wada water projects, among others.
Owafil also confirmed that his bank did not have any problem with the transaction and never complained to EFCC.