Judge in Goje’s case coughs repeatedly, adjourns case
The six-year-old money laundering case preferred against Sen. Danjuma Goje by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC,n suffered yet another adjournment on Tuesday after the Presiding Judge, Justice Babatunde Quadiri, developed a sudden health challenge.
The EFCC had alleged that Goje, then Gombe State Governor, had conspired with three officers of his administration to defraud the state of N25 billion via illegal acts, contrary to, and punishable under sections 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition Act) 2011 as amended.
Hearing on the case resumed at 9.05 a.m. at the Jos Federal High Court II but came to a sudden halt at 2.00 p.m. when the Judge’s health showed signs of deteriorating.
Quadiri, who had appeared uncomfortable after coughing for sometime, stood down the case after meeting with lawyers from both sides in his chamber.
At the hearing, the Prosecution Counsel, Mr Wahab Shittu, called his last prosecution witness, Mr Chris Owubu, an EFCC official, to give his evidence.
Owubu successfully told the court how he conducted investigation into an alleged forged resolution letter in which the then House of Assembly gave the Gombe government the nod to obtain a N5 billion loan facility from Access Bank, in 2006.
However, when the Defence Counsel, Mr Paul Erokoro (SAN), began the cross examination of the witness, the judge started coughing.
The Judge, who had concealed his state of health, tried to suppress the cough until he couldn’t stand it any more and pleaded for a discussion with the lawyers in his chamber.
At the chamber, Quadiri told the lawyers that he had hoped to conceal his poor health to them and continue the case so as to conclude the matter in two days as earlier agreed.
He urged the counsels to agree on a new date to continue the matter.
NAN reports that the two lawyers – Erokoro and Shittu – sympathized with the Judge and agreed to adjourn to enable him to take care of his health.
The case was then adjourned to April 10 and 11, 2018 for continuation of hearing.