Wednesday, 25 January 2017

[NG]Alleged diversion of N10b: Fed Govt files charges against Suswam, two others

The Federal Government has accused former Benue State Governor, Gabriel Suswam and two others of diverting about N10billion meant for the SURE-P programme of former Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.

The accusation is contained in two fresh charges against Suswam, Omadachi Oklobia and Mrs. Janet Aluga (Finance commissioner and accountant, Benue State Government House under Suswam’s administration) at the Federal High Court, Abuja.

They were, in the first charge of five counts, accused of unlawfully transferring the fund from the Benue State SURE-P account: 1013470079 and 0116099195 domicilled at Zenith and Guaranty Trust banks.

In the second charge of four counts, they were accused of unlawfully taking possession of the fund.

When the charges were mentioned yesterday before Justice Gabriel Kolawole, the defendants were absent in court.
Lead prosecution lawyer, David Igbodo, told the court the Inspector General of Police (IGP), who authorised the charges, had resolved to work with the federal attorney general (AGF) in the prosecution of the case.

As a result, he said the IGP directed that the file be forwarded to the AGF for his contributions.

Igbodo prayed the court for an indefinite adjournment to enable the IGP forward the case file to the IGP and for both offices to harmonise their positions.

Lawyer to the defendants, A. O. Ochogwu confirmed the position as stated by Igbodo. He said his clients had been informed of the prosecution’s arrangement, which informed their absence in court.

Ochogwu did not object to Igbodo’s request for an adjournment, following which Justice Kolawole adjourned both cases indefinitely.

Suswam, Oklobia and Mrs. Aluga are, in count one of the first charge, accused of conspiring to unlawfully transfer “N8, 315,079,692.07 from the Benue State SURE-P account numbers: 1013470079 and 0116099195 domicilled in Zenith and Guaranty Trust banks to Government House Administration accounts number: 1010658643 and 0027952907 domiciled in Zenith and Guaranty Trust bank and Ministry of Finance account number: 1013852648 domicilled in Zenith Bank, with intent to conceal the money, which you or reasonably ought to know forms part of the proceed of an unlawful act, to wit: fraud and corruption, offence contrary to Section 18 and punishable under 4ection 15 of the money laundering (prohibition) Act 2011”

They are, in count two, accused of unlawfully transferring the amount in count one, and as such, committed an offence punishable under Section 15 of Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act.



In count three, they are said to have “unlawfully transferred N300m from the Benue State SURE-P accounts number:  1013470079 and 0116099195 domiciled in Zenith and Guaranty Trust banks to Government House Administration accounts number: 1010658643 in Zenith Bank with intent to conceal the money.”

 They were, in count four, accused of transferring “N858,024,070.50 from the Benue State SURE-P accounts 1013470079 and 0116099195 domiciled in Zenith and Guaranty Trust banks to Government House Administration accounts number: 0027952907 domiciled in Guaranty Trust Bank with intent to conceal the money.”

In count five, they are accused of transferring N739,811,569.60 from the Benue SURE-P accounts numbers: 1013470079 and 0116099195 domiciled in Zenith and Guaranty Trust banks to the Ministry of Finance account number: 1013852648 domiciled in Zenith Bank, “with intent to conceal the money which you withdrew in several instalments, too possession of and retained for your use, the money which you know or reasonably ought to know forms the proceed of an unlawful act.”

Suswam, Oklobia and Mrs. Aluga are, in the first count of the second charge, alleged to have, “on or about 2nd and 9th April 2015 conspired to fraudulently convert N450,000,000 belonging to the Benue State Government House Administration, which was domiciled in the United Bank of Africa. Account number: 1017348051, fund, which you know or reasonably ought to know forms part of unlawful act.”

They were, in count two alleged to have taken “possession of N10m, fund belonging to the Benue State Government House Administration, which was domiciled in the United Bank of Africa account number: 1017348051”

In count three, the defendants were said to have, “on April 7, 2015 at the United Bank of Africa, Makurdi, Benue State took possession of N80m, which was withdrawn in eight instalments of N10m each, fund belonging to the Benue State Government House Administration which was domiciled in the United Bank of Africa. Account number 1017348051.”

They were, in count four, alleged to have “on the 2nd of April 2015 at the United Bank of Africa, Makurdi, Benue State, took possession of 300m, which was withdrawn in 30 separate instalments of N10m each, fund belonging to the Benue State Government House Administration, which was domiciled in the United Bank of Africa account number: 1017348051.”

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