EFCC re-arraigns Suswam over N3.1bn fraud

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday re-arraigned the former governor of Benue State, Mr. Gabriel Suswam at the Federal High Court, Abuja over alleged N3.1 billion fraud.

Suswam who is facing a nine-count charge bordering on money laundering was re-arraigned alongside Omadachi Oklobia who was the commissioner of finance in Benue when he was governor.

The duos pleaded not guilty to all the charges and were granted bail based on terms earlier granted by Justice Ahmed Mohammed following their arraignment in 2015.

The presiding judge, Justice Okon Abang, asked counsel in the matter to cooperate with the court and warned that he would not entertain any frivolous applications for adjournment.

It would be recalled that the judge took over Suswam’s trial following the withdrawal of Justice Mohammed from the case.

Mohammed had cited a publication by an online news medium which accused him of having been compromised to give Suswam a soft landing as his reason to withdraw from the case.

Suswam had challenged the jurisdiction of the court presided over by Justice Abang to handle the matter.

His counsel, Ms Chinelo Ugbozor had argued on his behalf that the matter had already commenced in another court and four witnesses had been called.

However, counsel to the EFCC, O.A Atolagbe maintained that a judge could not be compelled to handle a matter.

Atolagbe reminded the court that since it was the second time, Justice Mohammed was withdrawing from the case, he could not be compelled to hear it.

The EFCC is prosecuting Suswam and Oklobia on nine counts of money laundering bordering on the alleged diversion of N3.1 billion from the proceeds of the sale of shares owned by the Benue Government since 2015.

The matter was adjourned to October 29, 30 and 31.

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