Ex-Benue governor Suswam, two others arraigned, get N250m bail each

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The Federal High Court in Abuja Monday granted bail to the former governor of Benue State, Gabriel Suswam and two others who were arraigned on a fresh charge of money laundering.

Suswam was arraigned alongside his Commissioner of Finance, Omadachi Oklobia, and the then Accountant of the Government House, Janet Aluga.

The defendants were accused of diverting the sum of N9.79 billion, part of which was meant for Police Reform Programme and Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme.

The defendants pleaded not guilty to the 32-count charges of fraud, money laundering and financial misappropriation levelled against them.

After the charges were read, counsel to Suswam and Oklobia, Tawo Tawo (SAN), applied for their bail stating that the defendants were granted bail when arraigned by the EFCC for corruption charges before Justice Ahmed Mohammed.

He added that the defendants did not jump the bail granted to them and have been attending trial.

The prosecuting counsel, Aminu Alilu, who did not object to the application for bail, asked the court to use its discretion.

Ruling on the bail application, Justice Gabriel Kolawole, granted the defendants bail in the sum N250 million each with one surety each in like sum.

He ordered that each surety must be a director or principal officer not below Grade Level 12 in a local, state or federal establishment.

The court said in a situation whereby the defendants fail to get a high ranking civil servant, persons with national honour shall suffice.

Justice Kolawole also ordered that the defendants shall surrender their international or diplomatic passports to the Deputy Registrar Litigation.

“These bail conditions shall be verified by the Deputy Chief Registrar, Litigation, and if the defendants fail to meet up with conditions today, they shall be remanded in prison.

“The surety must swear an affidavit of means in signing the bail bond and must produce recent passport photograph to the Deputy Chief registrar Litigation, ” he said.

The Judge adjourned the matter to Oct. 10, for commencement of trial.

Suswam is also facing corruption charges before Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal High Court.

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