By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA – The Federal Government through the Office of the Inspector General of Police, has entered two separate criminal charges against the former Governor of Benue State, Mr. Gabriel Suswam. Suswam who piloted affairs of Benue State from 2007 to 2015, was accused of fraudulently diverting over N3.1billion from coffers of the state.
In the two sets of charges marked FHC/ABJ/CR/255/ 2016 and FHC/ABJ/CR/256/2016, containing six and two counts respectively, FG also cited former Commissioner of Finance in Benue state, Mr. Omodachi Okolobia and one Janet Aluga as co-defendants in the matter.
Meantime, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, has directed Police to transfer the case-files to his office.
Police prosecutor, Mr. David Igbodo made the revelation when the cases were called-up for mention before trial Justice Gabriel Kolawole on Wednesday.
Igbodo said the cases were sent to the AGF owing to “the quantum of evidence” uncovered by the Police. Sequel to his application, Justice Kolawole adjourned the matter sine-die (indefinitely).
Suswam and Okolobia were previously docked before Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the same high court on a nine-count money laundering charge.
The defendants who were arraigned on November 10, 2015, were accused of diverting proceeds of shares owned by the Benue State government and Benue Investment & Property Company Ltd.
Though they pleaded not guilty to the charge, the EFCC however maintained that it has sufficient evidence to prove that they committed an offence punishable under section 15(3) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 as amended in 2012.