• Quizzes, releases ex-Gov Suswam
  • Agency may summon former chairman, Waziri, others

     

Indications emerged yesterday that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, will be reviewing the case file of former governor of Benue state, Senator George Akume, over allegation of money laundering to the tune of N41billion.
Also, the immediate past governor of Benue state, Dr. Gabriel Suswam yesterday honoured the invitation of the commission on alleged misappropriation of SURE-P funds to the tune of N6.5billion as well as the N90billion the current administration alleged that Suswam left behind as debt.
A highly placed source at the EFCC, yesterday, told Nigerian Pilot that former governor Gabriel Suswam who arrived the commission headquarters about 10am allegedly told the team of crack investigators during his interrogations at Idiagbon House that he inherited 75 percent of the debt profile during the administration of George Akume.
According to the source, Suswam told the operatives of the EFCC that during the eight years of his tenure he only collected bond of N17billion.
The source further added that Suswam who was accompanied with two Senior Advocates of Nigeria, SANs, also released damaging documents against Senator Akume to further convince the operatives of the EFCC that he could not be investigated without Akume’ involvement.
The source further said that in the mind-boggling revelations from Suswam, the commission will have no choice than to call on the case file of Akume that was ready for prosecution during the tenure of Mallam Nuhu Ribadu before the then Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mike Kaase Aondoakaa, SAN, and the former Chairman of EFCC, Farida Waziri allegedly took over the case file.
He said that the commission may likely call on the former AGF and the former Chairman to produce the case file because it is missing from their records.
The EFCC had last week Friday invited Suswam, in connection with the ongoing investigation of his tenure.
The commission also grilled his former Commissioner of Finance, Mr. Omadachi Oklobia, for eight hours.
Oklobia was later released on administrative bail about 6:15pm after he met the bail terms.
Investigation revealed that Suswam is under probe based on the report of the Benue State’s 16-member Transition Committee, led by its Chairman, Mr. Mike Iordye, who was also implicated by the former governor yesterday on the sale of Benue state government properties.
The committee had uncovered over N90 billion debts and the disappearance of N6.507 billion meant for SURE-P.
Another highly placed top source, who spoke in confidence, said: “We have started looking into allegations against Suswam and some of his former commissioners. These allegations border on mismanagement of public funds, diversion of moneys meant for projects, outright embezzlement of funds and abuse of financial procedures but the former governor of the state, Senator Akume too is deeply involved from the documents Suswam brought today.
“The former governor appeared before our operatives for interrogation yesterday. A formal letter of invitation was sent to him. He responded and cooperated with us very well on the allegations of misuse of public funds.”
The immediate past Benue State Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Omadachi Oklobia, was quizzed for eight hours on Friday.
“We invited Oklobia, who served under Mr. Gabriel Suswam, a former Benue State governor, to defend the allegations of diversion of public funds, abuse of office, embezzlement and fraud while he was in office.
“Oklobia arrived at the EFFC office in Abuja about 10 am, where his statement was obtained under caution based on his complicity in the allegations.
Shortly after Governor Samuel Ortom took over, he said he would probe the administration of Suswam.”
He said: “We are going to look at Governor Gabriel Suswam’s administration, though we do not have specific areas where we intend to look at. But I assure you that we are going to stand for the people of Benue State.”
On his part, Suswam recently said he was not afraid of the ongoing probe of his administration by Ortom’s government.
He said the probe may set a bad precedent in the state and no one knows whose turn is next.
Suswam said: “On the issue of the probe going on in Benue State, it is not that one is afraid, but once a precedent is set, it is a double-edge sword. You don’t know whose turn it is tomorrow. You don’t know tomorrow.
“When I became the governor of Benue State, I met some issues on ground but I resolved them amicably. When there are issues, let us talk about them amicably instead of grandstanding.
“This remains my approach to life but to go and do grandstanding. I encourage us in Benue to toe the path of peace.”
Suswam was granted administrative bail about 5:55pm.


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