Suswam files suit to stop probe

Daily Trust - - NEWS - From Hope Abah, Makurdi

For­mer gover­nor of Benue State, Mr. Gabriel Suswam, yesterday filed a suit at a Makurdi High Court seek­ing to stop the probe panel con­sti­tuted by his suc­ces­sor to look into the ac­tiv­i­ties of his ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Gover­nor Sa­muel Or­tom in Au­gust this year set up a Ju­di­cial Com­mis­sion of In­quiry to in­ves­ti­gate the in­comes and ex­pen­di­ture of the for­mer ad­min­is­tra­tion.

The com­mis­sion be­gan sit­ting since last month with the col­lec­tion of mem­oirs sub­mit­ted by min­istries, de­part­ments and agen­cies and in­vited var­i­ous wit­nesses to tes­tify be­fore it.

Daily Trust learnt yesterday that the for­mer gover­nor through his coun­sel, Dave Iorhemba, had gone to court with a counter suit to chal­lenge the state gov­ern­ment on the probe panel.

Yesterday, the Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor of Benue In­vest­ment and Prop­erty Com­pany (BIPC), Mrs. Brid­get Sheidu, had a tough time with the Jus­tice El­iz­a­beth Kpo­jime led Com­mis­sion of In­quiry.

Shiedu could not con­vince the panel on what N355 mil­lion paid to one Sanka­los Benue Farms Lim­ited was used for, even af­ter sev­eral ex­pla­na­tions.

She had told the panel that the money was the 40 per­cent share of a coun­ter­part fund to which the com­pany was sup­posed to con­trib­ute 60 per­cent for the pur­chase of agri­cul­tural equip­ment from Mexico. She added that the money which was ac­tu­ally sup­posed to be paid in dol­lars into a for­eign ac­count was later trans­lated to the com­pany in naira so that the to­tal of N355 mil­lion was with­drawn once from BIPC’s bank ac­count and paid into Sanka­los ac­count from where it was later with­drawn in bits within six days.

How­ever, Jus­tice Kpo­jime won­dered why Sanka­los which was meant to pro­vide 60 per­cent of the to­tal sum for the pro­cure­ment of the equip­ment would turn around and de­mand for Benue’s 40 per­cent. A mem­ber of the com­mis­sion, Barr. Joe Abaagu, con­tended that the money in ques­tion never left Nige­ria, al­leg­ing that Sanka­los Benue Farms lim­ited was only a fic­ti­tious name used as a con­duit pipe to siphon the fund. A for­mer Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary of the Min­istry of Solid Min­er­als Dr. Garba Baba Buwai is dead.

Buwai, who also served as a Com­mis­sioner rep­re­sent­ing Zam­fara, Sokoto and Kebbi States in the Fed­eral Civil Ser­vice Com­mis­sion, died in a road ac­ci­dent on Sun­day while re­turn­ing home af­ter Isha prayers at the Na­tional Mosque in Abuja.

Buwai was said to be pas­sion­ate about re­forms in the fed­eral ser­vice and showed com­mit­ment and forthright­ness in what­ever as­sign­ment he was given.

Un­til his death, Buwai, who hailed from Zam­fara State, was the Pres­i­dent of Abuja Cen­tre for Is­lam prop­a­ga­tion (ACIP) for more than 15 years. Buwai is sur­vived by a wife, chil­dren and grand­chil­dren.

Sus­pected armed rob­bers, kid­nap­pers and cult mem­bers pa­raded by Rivers State Po­lice Com­mand in Port Har­court yesterday. Photo: NAN.

Late Dr. Garba Buwai

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