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.

Alleged 3.1bn Naira Fraud: Suswam’s Trial Adjourned Until Tuesday

suswamThe trial of the former Benue State Governor, Gabriel Suswam, in the case of alleged criminal diversion of 3.1 billion Naira brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has been adjourned till February 15.

During Monday’s hearing, some documents were tendered by the EFCC before the court presided over by Justice Ahmed Mohammed as exhibits.

They were presented through a prosecution witness, Mrs Bridgid Shietu, who is the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer the Benue Investment and Property Company Limited (BIPCL).

Also standing trial is the former Governor’s Commissioner for Finance, Mr Omadachi Okolobia.

The documents tendered as exhibit through the witness include a letter written by the EFCC to the Corporate Affairs Commission, requesting for the certificate of incorporation of the BIPCL.

She told the court that the former Governor gave the approval for the sales of the shares in some blue chip companies belonging to the Benue State government.

When asked whether she was aware that one of the accounts in which the proceeds of some of the share were credited did not belong to the Benue State government, the witness said no.

She explained that one of the accounts was owned by a private company, but stressed that the account numbers were giving to her by the Commissioner for Finance via the ministry’s letter headed paper.

Mrs Sheitu had earlier told the court that the shares in various stock brokerage firms were sold through a private firm, Elixir Nigeria Limited, for about nine billion Naira on the final directive of the former Governor, when the state witnessed financial down-turn.

After the witness gave her testimony, Justice Mohammed adjourned the case to Tuesday, February 15, to enable the defence counsel cross-examine the witness.