The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) on Tuesday, arraigned former Governor of Benue State, Gabriel Suswan and his Finance Commissioner, Omodachi Okolobia, before Justice A.R Muhammad of the Federal High Court sitting in Maitama, Abuja, on a 9-count charge of conspiracy, bribery, abuse of office and obtaining by false pretence.
Suswan, was said to have n connived with Okolobia and allegedly diverted proceeds of the sale of shares owned by the Benue State government and Benue Investment and Property Company Limited for their personal use.
According to Wilson Uwujaren, Head, Media and Publicity said the offence is punishable under Section 15 (3) 0f the Money Laundering Act 2011, as amended in 2012.
One of the counts reads:
“That you Gabriel Torwua Suswan 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 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 which form part of the sum of N9,411,708,009.5 realized 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.”
Following their plea, counsel to EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs, (SAN), asked the court for a short date to commence trial. “While we are not opposing the bail of the accused persons, I urge your Lordship to give us two days, possibly in December, for trial to commence”, Jacobs urged.
However, the defence counsel, Ahmad Raji, prayed the court to admit the accused persons to bail on self recognition citing Section 165 Sub Section (1) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.
Justice Muhammad admitted the accused persons to bail in the sum of N100m each and one surety each in like sum.
While fixing December 8 and 9, 2015 for commencement of trial, Justice Muhammad ordered the accused persons to be kept in EFCC custody pending the fulfillment of the bail conditions.