EFCC re-arraigns ex-Benue Governor, Gabriel Suswam over N3bn fraud

EFCC re-arraigns ex-Benue Governor, Gabriel Suswam over N3bn fraud

The former Benue State Governor, Gabriel Suswam, has been re-arraigned at the Federal High Court in Abuja after an eight-year journey through legal pr

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The former Benue State Governor, Gabriel Suswam, has been re-arraigned at the Federal High Court in Abuja after an eight-year journey through legal proceedings.

Suswam, alongside his former Commissioner of Finance, Omadachi Okolobia, faced an 11-count charge related to money laundering, to which they both pleaded not guilty during the recent court appearance before Justice Peter Lifu.

Represented by Senior Advocates of Nigeria, Adedayo Adedeji and Paul Erokoro, the former governor and Okolobia requested to retain their previous bail conditions, which the prosecution did not oppose.

However, there was disagreement over the defendants’ attendance at proceedings.

Despite the turbulent history of the case, including recusals and reassignments of judges, Justice Lifu reaffirmed the defendants’ bail and set the next trial date for April 29.

It may be recalled that the charges against the former governor of Benue and Okolobia stem from alleged money laundering involving the diversion of N3,100,000,000 from the sale of government shares dating back to 2015.

The case has seen multiple twists, including challenges to jurisdiction and changes in presiding judges.

Following an appeal court ruling in 2020, the case returned to Justice Ahmed Mohammed, who recently closed the prosecution’s case before his elevation to the Court of Appeal in 2023.

Now under Justice Lifu’s purview, the trial continues.

However, in addition to his legal battles, Suswam’s political career has seen its ups and downs.

After serving as governor from 2007 to 2015, he transitioned to the Senate in 2019 but lost his bid for reelection in 2023 to Emmanuel Udende of the All Progressives Congress, APC.