EFCC grills ex-Benue gover­nor Suswam

Daily Trust - - FRONT PAGE - By Ron­ald Mu­tum & Hope Abah, (Makurdi)

The Eco­nomic and Fi­nan­cial Crimes Com­mis­sion (EFCC) yesterday in­ter­ro­gated the ex-gover­nor of Benue State Gabriel Suswam over al­le­ga­tions of fi­nan­cial crimes.

The for­mer gover­nor was de­tained and ques­tioned by op­er­a­tives of the EFCC from 10 am yesterday and re­leased on ad­min­is­tra­tive bail at about 6: 45 pm.

How­ever, a Makurdi High Court yesterday granted an in­junc­tion re­strain­ing the Ju­di­cial Com­mis­sion of In­quiry es­tab­lished by the Benue State gov­ern­ment from fur­ther prob­ing Suswam’s ad­min­is­tra­tion.

But sources at the EFCC hinted that Suswam was be­ing probed over al­le­ga­tion of di­ver­sion of public funds and fraud dur­ing his ten­ure as gover­nor of Benue State.

“Suswam is be­ing in­ves­ti­gated by the anti-graft body for al­leged cor­rup­tion and mis­ap­pro­pri­a­tion while he was gover­nor of Benue State be­tween 2007 and 2015,” a source said.

Af­ter about 8 hours held in the Idi­ag­bon Block at the EFCC head­quar­ters in Abuja, Suswam who was dressed in a grey suit came out shielded by two aides to a wait­ing ve­hi­cle and drove off.

At­tempts by jour­nal­ists who waited out­side the EFCC of­fices to in­ter­view him were un­suc­cess­ful.

He came out with his head bowed, speak­ing on his mo­bile phone, while be­ing guided into a wait­ing jeep that whisked him away.

Daily Trust also gath­ered that part of the rea­son for his de­layed re­lease yesterday may be con­nected to the dif­fi­culty of meet­ing to some of the ad­min­is­tra­tive bail con­di­tions of the EFCC.

The EFCC on

Fri­day,

Oc­to­ber 9, grilled a for­mer Benue State Com­mis­sioner for Fi­nance, Mr. Omadachi Ok­lo­bia.

Ac­cord­ing to sources: “The anti­graft agency had in­vited Ok­lo­bia, who served un­der Mr. Gabriel Suswam, a for­mer Benue State gover­nor, to de­fend the al­le­ga­tions of di­ver­sion of public funds, abuse of of­fice, em­bez­zle­ment and fraud while he was in of­fice.ý”

“Ok­lo­bia ar­rived the EFFC of­fice in Abuja at about 10.00am, where his state­ment was ob­tained un­der cau­tion based on his com­plic­ity in the al­le­ga­tions,” the source said.

How­ever a close as­so­ciate of Suswam who does not want to be men­tioned said the al­le­ga­tions against him can­not be sub­stan­ti­ated by the EFCC.

He added that all ac­tions taken by the for­mer Gover­nor were done in the best in­ter­est of the state.

On the court re­strain­ing the probe in the state, Suswam had last week filed a suit to stop the panel, which was con­sti­tuted by his suc­ces­sor to in­ves­ti­gate the in­come and ex­pen­di­ture of his ten­ure be­tween 2007 and 2015.

The state Chief Judge, Jus­tice Iorhe­men Hwande, yesterday granted the ex­parte mo­tion to dis­con­tinue the panel from sit­ting on the mat­ter.

Daily Trust re­ports that in the suit, the for­mer gover­nor, among other things, ques­tioned the con­sti­tu­tion of the panel which in his es­ti­ma­tion was done un­law­fully as some mem­bers of the panel lack the lo­cus standi to sit in it.

In grant­ing the in­junc­tion, Jus­tice Hwande di­rected that the panel be served within seven days, and also or­dered the com­mis­sion to stop forth­with, the trial of the ad­min­is­tra­tion of Suswam.

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