Court adjourns Suswam’s trial again in N3.1bn fraud case

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has again adjourned the trial of former Benue State Governor, Gabriel Suswam alongside his former Commissioner of Finance, Omadachi Okolobia, to June 8, 2023, to enable the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, tender a fresh Exhibit P6 before the court.

Trial judge in the matter is Justice A. Mohammed.

Exhibit p6 was earlier tendered before the court, but because of the movement of the case from Justice Mohammed to Justice Okon Abang of the same jurisdiction, some portions of the documents from page 41-98 got missing from the records of the court.

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Meanwhile, prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacob, SAN’s record is intact and prayed the court to allow him use the copy to proceed with the trial, but defence counsel , Mr. Joseph Daudu , SAN, and Paul Erokoro, SAN objected, insisting that the prosecution continue with the case or tender the remaining documents as new exhibits.

They also proposed that the case be adjourned for the prosecution to re-present the missing documents.

After listening to their submissions, Justice Mohammed adjourned the matter to June 8, 2023, for continuation of trial.

Earlier, the prosecution called its Prosecuting Witness 6, PW6, an Assistant Commander of EFCC, ACE1 Mustapha Yusuf Ibrahim to testify before the court.

Ibrahim told the court that during investigations, his Team wrote letters to UBA and GTBank requesting for the statement of accounts of the first defendant.

The UBA account is the first defendant’s salary account my Lord, and the GTB is his personal savings account in naira and dollar. After receiving the statements of the account, we analysed it accordingly. In the analysis of the UBA account which is the first defendant’s salary account, we discovered that the last salary he received was N443,000 and that was in February 2013.”

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Asked whether Suswam received any salary before receiving February 2013, salary, Ibrahim answered in the negative; saying all other salaries were drawn in 2012 and the reason was that the state had no money to pay salaries at that time.

The witness further told the court that when they received the bank statement of Elexia Securities, they discovered a certain payment for the sale of shares belonging to the Benue State government was made into the account of Benue State’s Ministry of Finance.

My Lord, between September, 12, 2014, and October 22, 2014, the total sum of N5.3 billion in four tranches was made to the Benue State Ministry of Finance’s Zenith Bank account from the sale of shares by Elexia Securities, my Lord,” he said.

Suswam and Okolobia are facing trial amended11-count charges bordering on money laundering to the tune of N3.1billion.

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