A witness handed N15.8m to ex-Nigerian governor at Abuja residence

A witness confessed that he handed N15.8m to the ex-Nigerian governor at his Abuja residence. He said this to the Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday the 24th of March.

The prosecution witness said he was pressured by Mr. Suwam’s allies to change his statement that he gave the money to the former governor at his house located in Abuja.

The witness, told the Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday the 24th of March, how he allegedly handed over $15.8million to the former governor of Benue State, Gabriel Suswam, at the former governors’ residence in Maitama, Abuja.

Abubakar Umar, owner of Bureau De Change firm, Fanffash Resources was the fourth prosecution witness. He had in the course of his testimony, initially renounced this testimony by claiming that he carried the money to the Government House in Benue State.

While Mr. Umar was being led in evidence by the prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, explained on the same Wednesday that he changed the original claim from what was written in his statement to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) majorly because of the pressure he got from Suswam’s people.

Mr. Jacobs who is a senior advocate of Nigeria was asked what specifically the ex-governor’s allies requested him to change in his statement, the witness then told the court that he was asked to change his claim regarding who he gave the dollar equivalent of N3.1 billion to as well as the location where the handing over happened.

Mr. Umar also said he doesn’t know Elixir but back then in August 2014, Suswam called him to his residence in Maitama and introduced him to a lady, and asked him to give her his account details.

“Suswam stated that when I received the money, I should give him the dollar equivalent which I did. The money was up to $15.8million while using N197 to $1as the exchange rate back then. I gave the dollars in cash to Suswam at his home in Abuja.”

Mr Umar informed the court that he didn’t mention that he gave money to Suswam at Kubwa but he gave him the money at Maitama.

In addition, the witness said his company Fanffash Resources had no relationship with the government in Benue State, and that he also had no business or contract with Elixir Investment Partners Limited and was not aware of their location either.

Ahmed Mohammed, the judge who presided over the case, adjourned the case till the 25th of May before the trial will continue.

 The Charge

The EFCC is prosecuting the former governor in addition to Omadachi Oklobia who was his Commissioner for Finance back then , for allegedly stealing N9.79 billion that belongs to Benue State.

‎In the adjusted 32 counts, Mr Suswam, now a working as a senator, and his co-defendant have been accused of diverting the funds from 2012 and 2015 while Mr Suswam served as the governor of the state.

Finally, the defendants were also accused of conspiring and converting the properties gotten directly from corruption, conspiring to hide the  properties gotten from corruption, receiving them through false pretence and collecting cash payments more than the amount authorised by law.

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