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Goje Didn’t Benefit From Gombe’s N5 Billion Loan, Witness tells Court

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – A witness in Senator Danjuma Goje’s alleged N25 billion fraud case on Tuesday told a Federal High Court that no kobo out of a N5 billion loan facility Access Bank gave Gombe State entered the former governor’s account.

Goje, who served as governor of Gombe State, has since 2012 been facing an 18- count charge of conspiracy and money laundering alongside Alhaji Aliyu El-Nafarty (former Chairman, Gombe State Universal Basic Education Board), Alhaji Sambo Mohammed Tumu (the ex- governor’s cousin and food supplier to Government House) and a businessman, S.M. Dakoro.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) alleged that they conspired to defraud Gombe State of about N25 billion which the commission said represented 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.

However, on Tuesday, the Prosecution witness, Mr Ifesineke Owafil, a Compliant Officer, Access Bank Plc, told the court presided by Justice Benjamin Quadiri that the loan facility obtained by Gombe State was disbursed to various banks and not to individuals.

EFCC prosecuting Counsel, Mr. Wahab Shittu, who led the bank official in confirming documents obtained from Access bank, tendered the bank statements through which the loan was obtained and disbursed. Owafil attested to the documents and were thereafter tendered as exhibits.

Under cross examination by Goje’s counsel, Chief Chris Uche (SAN), Owafil confirmed that the loan facility came in four tranches and were distributed to different banks.

Asked, if during the disbursement, any money was transferred in Goje’s or in the name of any of the accused, the witness responded “No!” `

Explained the bank official, `No, I didn’t see it; 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 two accounts of the state; FAAC and Capital Project accounts, which thereafter were disbursed to various banks,”.

He told the court that the then administration had met eight conditions set out by Access bank before it was granted the loan, and never at any time had problem with the state.

When asked 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 at his bank did not have any problem with the transaction and never complained to EFCC or any authority or person.

The trial Judge adjourned the case for continuation of hearing on Wednesday, June 21, 2017.

 

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