N9.7bn alleged fraud: FG re-arraigns Suswam, others Nov. 20

 The Federal High Court, Abuja, has fixed Nov. 20 for the re-arraignment of former Benue governor, Gabriel Suswam, on a 32-count charge brought against him by the Federal Government.

Justice I.E. Ekwo fixed the date on Wednesday when the matter was brought before him for the first time.

When the matter was called, the prosecuting counsel, Mr Aminu Alilu, told the judge that the matter was starting de novo (afresh), following the elevation to the Court of Appeal of the judge who was handling it.

By agreement of counsel, Justice Ekwo adjourned the matter until Nov. 20 and 21.

It will be recalled that Suswam was arraigned before Justice Gabriel Kolawale, alongside his former Commissioner for Finance, Omadachi Oklobia and then Accountant of the State House, Mrs Janet Aluga.

They were arraigned for allegedly diverting N9.7 billion, part of which was meant for Police Reform Programme and Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P).

The trio allegedly cornered the said funds between 2012 and 2015, while Suswam was governor of the state.

They were also accused of conspiracy, conversion of property derived directly from corruption; collaboration to conceal property derived from corruption; obtaining by false pretence and accepting cash payments, exceeding the amount authorised by law.

The offences are said to be contrary to, and punishable under various provisions of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011, and the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act

Kolawale admitted the trio to bail in the sum of N250 million each and one surety each in like sum.(NAN)

Hassan Usman Author

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