Alleged 3.1bn Naira Fraud: Court Grants Suswam’s Request To Travel Abroad

SuswamA Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has granted the request of the former Governor of Benue State, Gabriel Suswam, seeking the release of his international passport to enable him travel abroad for medical check-up.

Justice Ahmed Muhammed while granting the request on Tuesday, also ordered Suswam to return to Nigeria before the next adjourned date to make himself available for his trial.

The judge granted the request after counsel to the former Governor of Benue State, Mr Joseph Daudu, through a motion he filed on January 14, prayed the court to release Suswam’s international passport to enable him travel abroad for medical check-up.

The prosecutor, Mr Rotimi Jacob, who raised no objection to the motion, prayed the court to grant the request during the holiday period so that the former Governor of Benue State could return on time to face his trial.

Mr Suswam and his former Commissioner of Finance are alleged to have diverted the proceeds of the sale of shares owned by the Benue State Government and Benue Investment and Property Company Limited.

The offence is punishable under section 15, subsection three of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act.

Supreme Court Judgment: Akwa Ibom Holds Thanksgiving Service

akwa-united-UdomThe Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Governor Emmanuel Udom has held a thanksgiving service for the Supreme Court judgement which held that he was validly elected as governor of the state.

Present at the event are Governor of Ekiti State, Gov. Ayodele Fayose, former Governor of Akwa-Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio, former Governor of Benue State, Gabriel Suswan, Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, Governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson, Governor of Abia State, Okezie Ikpeazu, Bishop Oyedepo, amongst others.

The Supreme Court on February 3, 2016 affirmed the election of Udom Emmanuel, as the Governor of Akwa Ibom and that of Abia State, Okezie Ikpeazu.

In judgments on Wednesday that lasted less than 30 minutes, the court said Governor Emmanuel and his Abia counterpart, Ikpeazu, having won the lawfully cast votes, are duly elected as governors of their states.

Alleged Corruption: Court Grants Suswam Bail

SuswamA Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, Nigeria’s federal capital territory has granted bail to a former Benue State Governor, Gabriel Suswam, who alongside the former Commissioner of Finance in the state are standing trial for alleged mismanagement of over 3.1 billion naira belonging to Benue State.

The court granted them bail in the sum of 100 million naira each and one surety each who shall be not less than a Director, Grade Level 12 in the employment of the federal, state or local government.

Each surety shall swear an affidavit of means while the two accused persons are to submit their travel documents in the custody of the court.

Trial has been set for December 8 and 9, while bail was not opposed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

Mr Suswam and his former Finance Commissioner, Mr Omodachi Okolobia, were alleged to have diverted the proceeds of the sale of shares owned by the Benue State Government and Benue Investment and Property Company Limited.

The offence is punishable under Section 15, Subsection 3 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act as amended in 2012.

EFCC Arraigns Former Benue Governor Suswam        

suswamThe arraignment of the former Benue State Governor, Mr Gabriel Suswam, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for alleged money laundering and corruption charges has commenced at the Federal High Court in Abuja.

He was escorted into the court premises by officials of the anti-graft agency.

He is being arraigned before Justice A. R. Mohammed over a 9-count charge bordering on money laundering to the tune of 3.1 billion Naira.

Mr Suswam and his former Finance Commissioner, Mr Omodachi Okolobia, were alleged to have diverted the proceeds of the sale of shares owned by the Benue State Government and Benue Investment and Property Company Limited.

The offence is punishable under Section 15, Subsection 3 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act as amended in 2012.

The EFCC had questioned both men lin October but released them on administrative bail.

Days after reports that he would be arraigned by an anti-graft agency were published, the former Governor had denied allegation of corruption against him, saying it is a politically motivated effort to demonise his time in office as the Governor of the state.

Mr Suswam spoke about the stress in the office of a Governor and said that 24 hours in office was enough to send any public officer to jail.

Mr Suswam had also filed a suit seeking to restrain Governor Samuel Ortom and the Commission of Inquiry from investigating him but a High Court of Justice sitting in Makurdi, Benue State’s capital, has dismissed the suit.

Justice Adam Onum, in the ruling on Monday, said that Governor Ortom had the power to constitute the panel of inquiry to gather information regarding affairs of the Suswam administration, to enable him carry out his statutory responsibilities as Governor.

The court, however, cautioned that the Commission of Inquiry lacked the power to summarily issue arrest warrant against Mr Suswam, but could invite him to appear before it to answer questions regarding the criminal breach of trust.

Meanwhile, Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has asked Suswam to make certain cash refunds of missing monies to the state government’s coffers listing receipts from the sale of government shares at the Dangote Cement Company and that of Julius Berger which were not reflected in the state’s income and expenditure records.

Governor Suswam Denies Allegation Of Corruption

The former Governor of Benue State, Mr Gabriel Suswam, has denied allegation of corruption against him, saying it is a politically motivated effort to demonise his time in office as the Governor of the state.

Addressing reporters on Sunday in the State, days after reports that he would be arraigned by an anti-graft agency were published, Mr Suswam referred to the stress in the office of a Governor and said that 24 hours in office was enough to send any public officer to jail.

Not A Saint

He further asked those calling for his prosecution to know he is also human and not a saint.

Mr Suswam made the statements at a thanksgiving service held in his honour at the Holy Ghost Catholic in Makurdi by the Peoples Democratic Party caucus in the Benue State House of Assembly.

The ceremony was held to mark his eight years in office which ended in May, 2015.

The embattled former Governor also spoke on his preparedness to answer to the corruption charges brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, but regretted the misleading information carried by the media about his purported arraignment.

“It is for the people of Benue state to judge. It is not for us to play politics with it. There were lots of milestone that we achieved in the last eight years under my leadership. I believe that the people know it.

“What the political elite in the opposition are trying to do does not reflect what is on ground. But if you go across the entire state, my footprints are all there. It is not something that is in doubt by anybody.

“Forget about the politics of trying to make me become a project,” the former Governor told Channels Television’s reporter.

He advised the current government to concentrate on delivering the promises made to the people.

Mr Suswan said that he had been given charges but that a date had not been fixed for hearing.

Former Benue Governor Suswam Invited By EFCC

suswamThe former Governor of Benue State, Mr Gabriel Suswam, has been invited by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The Spokesperson of the EFCC, Mr Wilson Uwajuren, confirmed this to Channels Television.

Mr Suswam arrived at the anti-graft agency’s office in Abuja on Monday morning at about 10AM to answer questions relating to alleged corruption in Benue State when he was Governor.

Mr Suswam joined several other past state governors under investigation by the EFCC for alleged corruption during their times.

The Commissioner of Finance under Mr Suswam was said to have also visited the agency’s office on related issue a week before his former boss.

Mr Suswam served two terms from 2007 to 2015.