Alleged N3.1bn Fraud: EFCC Says Petitioner Who Reported Ex-Gov. Suswam Untraceable

Gabriel SuswamThe Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday disclosed that the source of the petition of alleged corruption against immediate past governor of Benue State, Gabriel Suswam, could not be traced.

Suswam was arraigned before a Federal High Court in Abuja alongside former Commissioner of Finance in the state, Omodachi Okolobia, on nine-count charges of embezzlement of funds valued at N3.1 billion.

An official of the EFCC, Junaidu Saidu testified that the commission received an anonymous petition on July 14, 2015 against Suswam’s administration titled: “Truth Shall Prevail Over Evil Minds” with no letterhead or address.

The petition alleged the theft of N9 billion sold shares of Benue State with Dangote Cement PLC, misappropriation of N6 billion Ecological Funds from the federal government to Benue State for six years, and the diversion of N1billion from the sale of Taraku Vegetables Ltd against the ex-governor.

He, however, noted that following the petition, the commission made some findings, which informed its decision to prosecute Mr. Suswam and his co-accused on the nine-count charge to the tune of N3.1 billion.

During the cross examination by defence counsel, Joseph Daudu (SAN), which lasted for more than five hours, Mr. Saheed further revealed that address of the petitioner could not be traceable while e-mail messages sent to it were not delivered.

He added that investigations showed that a partner to the state Ministry of Finance and Benue Investment and Property Company Limited, Elixir Investment Partners, received several billions of Naira on behalf of the state which were paid into the accounts of Fanffash Resources.

Mr. Daudu, however, prayed the court to compel the EFCC operative to explain the result of its findings on the remaining sum of over N6 billion since the commission’s findings show N3.1 billion forming part of the N9.4 billion allegedly diverted.

Responding, counsel to EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), pleaded that the commission be allowed to explain based on its charges that revolve around the sum of N3.1billion.

A plea by the counsel to Suswam to present a previous judgment from the same court regarding his stand that the anti-graft agency had no legal privilege to investigate state funds, failed.

The presiding judge, Ahmed Mohammed, said the court could take judicial notice of the said document and nothing else.

Justice Mohammed adjourned the case to today for further hearing.

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