Court Adjourns Suswan’s N3.1bn Corruption Trial to September 28

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The trial of the a former governor of Benue State, Gabriel Suswam and his former Commissioner of Finance, Omadachi Okolobia before Justice A. R. Mohammed at the Federal High Court, Abuja was stalled on Wednesday, June 21, 2017 due to the absence of the second defendant, Okolobia.
Suswam and his co-accused were arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC, on a nine- count charge, bordering on money laundering to the tune of N3.1billion.
They were alleged to have diverted proceeds of the sale of shares owned by Benue Government and Benue Investment & Property Company Limited.
The case, which has suffered several adjournments for over a year was to resume today, but could not go on as Okolobia, a second defendant in the suit, was markedly absent.
His absence was attributed to his inability to meet bail conditions in another 32-count charge of fraud preferred against him, his principal (Suswan) and Jeneth Aluga, a former Accountant General of the State, by the federal government.
According to Okolobia’s counsel, Samson A. Eigege, “the absence of Okolobia was due to the fact that he was remanded on Monday in Kuje prison on the orders of Justice Kolawole. He had been granted bail, but the bail conditions are yet to be fulfilled as the surety earlier brought was rejected”.
He urged the court to grant adjournment to enable them secure the release of the second defendant (Okolobia) for him to stand trial.
Responding, Oluwaleke Atolagbe, counsel to EFCC, raised no objection to the adjournment, but brought to the notice of the court that the case was to be heard today and tomorrow (June 21 and 22) and requested that, “if the defence could meet the bail conditions today, the defendant would be released and trial should continue tomorrow with the defendant present”.
On the other hand, Suswan’s counsel, Tawo E. Tawo, SAN, told the court that he had no objection to the adjournment sought by Eigege as he was aware of the circumstances surrounding the second defendant’s absence.
He urged that adequate time should be given to the second defendant as tomorrow might not be feasible.
Justice Mohammed, after listening to the submissions of counsels adjourned to September 28, 2017 for continuation of trial.

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