Alleged N3.1bn Fraud: Court Adjourns Suswam’s Trial Over Absence Of Lawyer
A Federal High Court in Abuja has adjourned the trial of a former governor of Benue State, Mr Gabriel Suswam.
Justice Ramat Mohammed adjourned the trial at the resumed proceedings on Tuesday due to the absence of the lead defence counsel, Joseph Daudu, who was said to be under the weather.
Mr Suswam and former commissioner of finance in the state, Okolobia Okpanachi, are being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on nine counts bordering on alleged diversion of N3.1 billion.
Both were alleged to have diverted proceeds of the sale of shares owned by Benue State government, as well as Benue Investment and Property Company Limited.
One of the charges against them read, “That you Gabriel Torwua Suswam and Omodachi Okolobia, while being the Benue State governor and commissioner of finance of Benue State respectively between 8th August and 30th October, 2014 in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court took possession of the sum of $15, 800,000 (Fifteen Million, Eight Hundred Thousand Dollars) from Abubakra Umar of Fanffash Resources World-wide Limited, a bureau de change dealer which sum you knew to be the proceed of unlawful activity to wit: theft of the sum of N3,111,008,018.51 (Three Billion, One Hundred and Eleven Million, Eight Thousand, Eighteen Naira, Fifty-one Kobo ) which form part of the sum of N9,411,708,009.51 (Nine Billion, Four Hundred and Eleven Million, Seven Hundred and Eight Thousand, Nine Naira, Fifty One Kobo), realised from the sale of shares, owned by Benue Government and Benue Investment and Property Company Limited and you thereby committed and offence contrary to Section 15 (2) (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as Amended in 2012 and punishable under Section 15 (3) of the same Act.”
At the resumed trial, the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, informed the court that though the matter was billed for hearing on March 26, Mr Daudu contacted him and told him that he was indisposed.
He added that the lead defence counsel asked for an adjournment, an application Jacobs told the court that he would not oppose.
A defence counsel, David Iorhemba, who held brief for Daudu also told the court that what the prosecution said was the position of the defence.
He added that due to the ill health, Daudu would be asking for a very long adjournment to enable him recover.
After listening to the counsels, Justice Mohammed adjourned till May 22 and 23, 2019 for continuation of the trial.