Gabriel Suswam, a former Governor of Benue State and serving Senator has been re-arraigned on Monday before a Federal High Court in Abuja over alleged ₦3.1 billion fraud.
Suswam was re-arraigned alongside a former Commissioner for Finance in Benue State, Omadachi Oklobia on an amended 11-count charge filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
EFCC amended the earlier nine-count charge on which the defendants were first arraigned in 2015, raising the counts to 11. Gabriel Suswam and Omadachi Oklobia were accused, among others, of diverting about ₦3.1 billion, which the EFCC claimed formed part of the proceeds of the sale of Benue State’s shares in some companies.
Due to their initial arraignment, the trial commenced, with the prosecution calling four witnesses until the judge, Justice Ahmed Mohammed recused himself on the grounds that an online medium, Sahara Reporters, alleged that he had been compromised.
The case was re-assigned to another judge, Justice Okon Abang, before whom the case started afresh and progressed, with the prosecution calling three witnesses until proceedings were halted on account of an order of the Court of Appeal, directing that the case be returned to Justice Mohammed for continuation.
The Court of Appeal had, in a judgment delivered on February 19, upheld Suswam’s appeal and faulted the manner Justice Mohammad recused himself from the case.
Justice Mohammed adjourned the trial to December 15.