Saturday, April 17, 2021

Nigeria: Former Benue Governor, Gabriel Suswam re-arraigned on money laundering charges


The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has re-arraigned former Governor of Benue State, Gabriel Suswam, at the Federal High Court, Abuja.

The former governor was re-arraigned before Justice Okon Abang alongside Omadachi Oklobia, a former Commissioner for Finance in the state, on a nine-count charge bordering on money laundering, on Monday.

They pleaded not guilty to all charges preferred against them by the commission.

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Suswam and Oklobia were granted bail based on terms earlier granted by Justice Ahmed Mohammed following their first arraignment in 2015.

Justice Abang asked counsel in the matter to cooperate with the court, warning that he would not entertain any frivolous applications for adjournment.

Justice Mohammad withdrew from the trial following publications by SaharaReporters allgeding that the judge had been compromised.

Suswam’s lawyer, 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.

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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 N3.1bn from the proceeds of the sale of shares owned by the Benue State Government since 2015.

The matter had been adjourned until October 29, 30 and 31 for further hearing.


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