Alex Enumah in Abuja
More troubles yesterday came the way of the former Benue State Governor, Gabriel Suswam, when the federal government arraigned him and two others before a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja for frittering away a whopping N9.7 billion meant for police reform programme and Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme SURE-P.
Suswam, his former Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Omadachi Okolobia, and the then Accountant of the state Government House Administration, Mrs. Janet Aluga, were arraigned on a 32-count charge bordering on fraud and money laundering.
They were alleged to have misappropriated the sum of N9,781,602,453.8, part of which was meant for police reform programme, and SURE-P.
However, the presiding judge of the court, Justice Gabriel Kolawole, granted the former governor and others to bail in the sum of N250million each.
â€œThe 1st, 2nd and 3rd defendants are hereby granted bail to the tune of N250million each, and one surety each in like sum,â€ the court ruled.
In granting the bail, the court however ordered that the sureties must be a Director or Principal Officer not less than level 12 in local, state or federal establishment.
Justice Kolawole, however, stated that in a situation whereby the defendants fail to get a high ranking civil servant, persons with national honour shall suffice.
The court also ordered the defendants to surrender their international diplomatic passports to the Deputy Registrar Litigation, and in the event the passports are in custody of the Federal High Court, such shall be verified by the DCR.
Justice Kolawole added that the sureties must swear an affidavit of means in signing the bail bond as well as produce recent passport photographs.
â€œFulfillment of these bail conditions shall be verified by the DCR, and if the defendants fail to meet up with the conditions today, the defendants shall be remanded in Kuje prison.
The court however adjourned trial for October 10, 17, and 19.
The federal government had the charge dated March 23, 2017, filed before the Federal High Court in Abuja and marked FHC/ABJ/CR/48/2017.