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EFCC re-arraigned Gabriel Suswam on alleged N3bn fraud



EFCC re-arraigned Gabriel Suswam on alleged N3bn fraud
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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Thursday, re-arraigned former Benue State governor, Gabriel Suswam on a 11-count charge bordering on money laundering and corruption,

The trial of Suswam on an alleged N3 billion fraud alongside the Commissioner of Finance under his administration, Omadachi Okolobia, recommenced at the Federal High Court in Abuja, before Justice Peter Lifu, following a resuscitation of the charges by the anti-graft agency after an eight-year hiatus.

In one of the counts leveled against them, the EFCC counsel, Oluwaleke Atolagbe, said Suswam who was Benue governor from 2007 to 2015, and Okolobia allegedly accepted cash payments in the sums of N128 million, N100 million, N150 million and N200 million, on different occasions from one Gera James, a non-financial institution, which exceeded the threshold authorised by law and contrary to the Money Laundering Act.

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When the charges were read to them, both Suswam and Okolobia pleaded not guilty, while Suswam’s lawyer, Adedayo Adedeji, and Okolobia’s lawyer, Paul Erokoro, both prayed the court to allow their clients to enjoy the previous bail conditions granted them by a former judge of the Federal High Court, Ahmed Mohammed, who was in charge of the case when they were first arraigned in 2015.

Atolagbe who did not object to the defendants’ bail request, however disagreed with the defence lawyers’ submission that the defendants had always attended proceedings in the case.

Justice Lifu, after listening to arguments from both prosecution and defence counsels, admitted the defendants to their earlier bail terms, and adjourned the suit until 29 April for trial.

He however, warned that he would like to dispense of the case as soon as possible as he would not want to be a part of the case’s chequered history.

“The case has had a chequered history and I do not want to be a part of it,” Lifu said.