Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Ex-Benue Governor's Fraud Trial Resumes

The trial of Gabriel Suswam, former governor of Benue State, is set to continue at the Federal High Court Abuja this morning.

He is under probe alongside his then-Commissioner of Finance, Okolobia Okpanachi.

Suswan and Okolobia are facing a nine-count charge bordering on diversion of N3,1 billion during his tenure as governor.
He was governor from 2007 to 2015.

On Monday, a prosecution witness, Brijid Shiedie, managing director and chief executive officer, Benue Investment and Property Company Limited (BIPCL), told Justice Mohammed of , how the sum of N1bn was allegedly paid to Elixir Security Limited, after a meeting with Okpanachi.

At the hearing, led in evidence by prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, she further told the court Elixir was invited by the  state government to carry out a check of where the state’s shares were domiciled and consolidate them in one stock- broking firm.

She added that the state government consequently needed BIPCL, as the custodian of the shares, to sign, in order to enable Elixir achieve the mandate of consolidating the shares.

The witness also told the court both Suswan and Okpanachi directed BIPCL to pay Elixir the proceeds of Benue State shares, into two accounts, provided by the ministry of finance letter head.

However, she said that no specific amount was indicated in the correspondence.

The defence counsel, Joseph Daudu, asked for an adjournment to enable him cross-examine the witness, saying she was crucial to the case.

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