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N3.1 billion fraud: Criminal trial of former Benue governor continues

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Senator Gabriel Suswam
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Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court on Thursday resumes the criminal trial of the former governor of Benue State, Senator Gabriel Suswam.

Suswam who governed Benue State for eight years was alledgedly involved in money laundering to the tune of N3. 1 billion.

The Judge had withdrawn twice from the case on allegations that he would compromise to give Senator Suswam a clean bill of health.

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On 5th July, 2019, Justice Ahmed Mohammed again withdrew from the case through a letter and returned the case file to the court’s Chief Judge, Justice John Tsoho, for re-assignment to another judge.

The prosecutor alleged that the money with which the ex-governor was being tried was stolen from the proceeds of the sale of shares owned by the Benue State Government.

And following the judgment of the Abuja division of the Court of Appeal, the proceedings were terminated before Justice Okon Abang who had taken over the case from Justice Mohammed’s court.

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Suswam, his former Commissioner of Finance, Omodachi Okolobia, are being prosecuted by by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Prosecution counsel, Oluwaleke Atolagbe, and defence lawyer, Chinelo Ogbozor, urged the court to adjourn the case continuation of trial by virtue of the Court of Appeal’s judgment.

On his part, Okolobia’s lawyer, Audu Aloga, who blamed the prosecution for the delay in the resumption of the trial, urged the court to either adjourn for trial or strike out the charges for want of diligent prosecution.

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Responding to Aloga, the prosecuting counsel described the application for the striking out of the charges as unfortunate and baseless.

Justice Mohammed jettisoned the request for the striking out of the case and fixed September 30 for continuation of trial.

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