Former Benue State Governor, Gabriel Suswam was arraigned yesterday before the Federal High Court, Abuja on a three-count charge of money laundering and illegal possession of firearms.
Suswam is, in the charge filed by the Federal Government on June 26 this year, accused illegally concealing weapons in his Mercedes Benz 550 4Matic car with Registration No: BWR 135 AH parked at Dunes Investment and Properties Ltd, No. 44 Aguiyi lronsi Way, Maitama, Abuja,
He is also accused of “converting 25 designer wrist watches worth several millions of naira being properties you derived directly from corruption and concealed in your Mercedes Benz 550 4Matic with Registration No BWR 135 AH.”
The ex-Governor was also accused of being in possession of “one(l) Gloek Pistol with Serial Number KML 275, one (1) Mini rifle with Serial Number 54976 and One(l) AK 47 with Serial Number 5622620063, which weapons were concealed in your Mercedes Benz 550 4Matic car with Registration No: BWR 135 AH.”
Suswam pleaded not guilty to the charge when it was read to him on today before Justice Babatunde Quadri.
The latest charge brings to three the number of criminal charges now pending against Suswam before the Federal High Court, Abuja.
The ex-Governor is accused of diverting proceeds of the sale of Benue State’s investment in some companies. The case is pending before Justice Ahmed Mohammed.
He is, in the second charge, accused of diverting funds meant for SURE P projects in the state. The case was pending before Justice Gabriel Kolawole before the judge’s recent elevation to the Court of Appeal. The case is expected to be reassigned to a new judge.
After his arraignment on Friday, prosecution lawyer, Abubakar Kayode Alilu sought a date for the commencement of trial. He urged the court order that the defendant be remanded in prison.
Suswam’s lawyer, Paul Erokoro (SAN) informed the court about his client’s pending bail application.
Erokoro moved the application, which Justice Quadri granted. The judge admitted Suswam to bail at N500 million and one surety at the same amount.
The Judge said the surety, who must be a residence of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), should swear to an affidavit of means, following which the surety’s residential address is to be verified by officials of the court.
The judge adjourned to October 24 this year for the commencement of trial.