Former Benue State Governor, Gabriel Suswam and his Finance Commissioner, Omodachi okolobia, yesterday denied the N3.1billion corruption charges brought against them by the federal government.
Suswam and Okolobia were alleged to have diverted the state government fund in breach of trust. However, when the charges were read to them the two accused persons pleaded not guilty.
Trial judge, Justice Ahmed Ramat Mohammed admitted both the accused persons to bail on N100 million surety each and one surety of grade level 12 on the employment of federal, state or local government or person with National Award each in like sum.
This followed a bail application that was unopposed by the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN.
Justice Mohammed also ordered the accused persons to deposit the international passports with the deputy registrar of the court as part of the bail terms.
However, both accused persons were to be remanded in custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission if they failed to meet the terms of the bail before the closing hour.
Nigerian Pilot recalled that a horde of photo journalists had on November 4 laid siege at the court premises in anticipation of Suswam’s arraignment, following wide publicity the EFCC gave it but this turned out to be a hoax.
Part of the charge read thus:”that you Gabriel Suswam and Omodachi Okolobia while being Benue State Governor and Finance Commissioner between August 8 and October 30, 2014 in Abuja took possession of the sum of 15.8 million dollars from Abubakar Umar of Fanffash Resources Worldwide, a bureau de change dealer which sum you knew to be proceeds of unlawful activity to wit theft of the sum of N3.1 billion which form part of the N9.4billion realised from the sale of shares owned by Benue State Government and Benue Investment and Property Company, an offence contrary to Section 15 (2) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011 and punishable under section 15(3) of the same Act.
“That you, Gabriel Suswam and Omodachi Okolobia while being Benue State Governor and Finance Commissioner between August 8 and October 30, 2014 in Abuja entrusted with over N3.1billion being part of the sum of N9.4billion realised from the sale of shares owned by Benue State Government and Benue Investment and Property Company did conspire among yourselves to commit criminal breach of trust by diverting the sum into the account of Fanffash Resources Worldwide, a bureau de change company to enable you receive the dollar equivalent that you here by committed an offence contrary to Section 96 of the Penal Code Act, Cap 532 Volume 4 Law of the Federation of Nigeria 2007 and punishable under Section 97 of same Act.
The matter has been adjourned to December 8 and 9, 2015 for hearing.


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