Abubakar Umar, the fourth Prosecution Witness (PW4), in the trial of Gabriel Suswam, a former governor of Benue State, has narrated before Justice Ahmed Ramat Mohammed of the Federal High Court how he handed over the sum of $15.8m to the accused at his Maitama residence, Abuja.
Witness’ statement against the accused
Umar, a Bureau De Change (BDC) operator, and CEO of Fanffash Resources has been in the witness box since 2018. At a stage in the trial, he was declared hostile, after he recanted on the statement he volunteered to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC. while being led in evidence by Rotimi Jacobs SAN.
In his statement before the EFCC, he wrote that he took the money to the governor at his residence in Maitama Abuja but changed the narrative in court stating that he took the money to the Government House in Benue State.
At the hearing, the PW4 reaffirmed his earliest statement to the EFCC and disclosed that he received calls from associates of Suwam threatening him to change his statement in Court. “I changed my statement because of the pressure I received from Suswam’s people”, he said.
When asked by the prosecution counsel, what Suswam’s allies wanted him to change, he told the court that they wanted him to change where and who he gave the Dollar equivalent of ₦3.1 billion.
Umar further revealed that “I don’t know Elixir but sometime in August 2014, Suswam called me to his house in Maitama and introduced me to a lady and asked me to give her my account details.
“Suswam said when I see the money, I should give him the Dollar equivalent which I did, amounting to $15.8m while using ₦197 as the exchange rate. I handed over the Dollars in cash to Suswam at his residence in Abuja”
The witness said his company Fanffash Resources has no relationship with the Benue State Government, and that he also has no business or contract with Elixir Investment Partners Limited and does not know where they are.
The case has been adjourned till May 25, 2021, for the continuation of trial.
BizWatch Nigeria recalls that the EFCC on November 2, 2020, re-arraigned Gabriel Suswam, alongside his then Commissioner of Finance, Omodachi Okolobia, before Justice Ahmed Ramat Mohammed of the Federal High Court Abuja for fraud.
Both were docked on amended 11-count charges, bordering on theft, criminal breach of trust, illegal award of contracts, and money laundering to the tune of ₦3.1 billion.