EFCC re-arraigns Suswam over ‘N3.1bn fraud’

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has re-arraigned Gabriel Suswam, a former governor of Benue, and Omadachi Okolobia, a former finance commissioner in the state, over alleged fraud.

Both men were re-arraigned at a federal high court in Abuja on Monday, on an 11-count charge bordering on money laundering.

The duo were accused of diverting N3.1 billion from the state coffers.

They were first arraigned before Ahmed Mohammed, a judge of the federal high court, in 2015.

However, Mohammed recused himself from the case following the allegation that he was bribed by the defendants to make a favorable judgement.

Thereafter, the judge returned the case file back to Adamu Kafarati, chief judge of the federal high court, at the time.

Kafarati assigned the case to Okon Abang, another judge, but the court of appeal in February ordered that the case be returned back to Mohammed.

During proceedings on Monday, Oluwaleke Atolagbe, EFCC counsel, informed the court that the charges against the defendants had been amended.

“I humbly apply under Sections 216 and 218 of Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015 for this honourable court to accept the amended charge and direct that the defendants take their plea on the charge subject to the convenience of the court,” he said.

Counsel to the defendants did not object to the motion.

The amended charges were then read to Suswam, senator representing Benue north-east, and the former commissioner.

They both pleaded “not guilty.”

In the charge sheet, Okolobia was alleged to have accepted cash payments in the sum of N128 million, N100 million, N150 million and N200 million at different occasions from one Gera James, a non-financial institution, which were said to have exceeded the threshold authorised by law and contrary to the Money laundromat Act.

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The matter has been adjourned till December 15.



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