SWIMMING IN MONEY: N9.79B MEANT FOR SURE-P AND POLICE REFORM PROGRAMME ALLEGEDLY DIVERTED BY FORMER BENUE STATE GOVERNOR GABRIEL SUSWAM

Secret Reporters –

Money they say is the root of all evil but at the same time, it is best to have some. It’s no surprise a great number of politicians do everything within their power to make more money while serving the people they were called out to represent. If taking money meant for the betterment of the people is the way to make this money, then surely for these politicians that would be the perfect way to go about it.

This narrative applies to the Senator representing Benue North-East Senatorial district Gabriel Torwua Suswam who while serving as Governor of BENUE STATE between 2012 and 2015 was alleged to have conspired with Omodachi Okolobia (a former commissioner of finance in the state) and Janet Aluga (a former accountant of the Benue State Government House Administration) to divert a jaw-dropping sum of N9.7Billion meant for Subsidy reinvestment and empowerment program(SURE-P) and a small fraction for fictitious Police Reform Program in the state.

SecretReporters uncovered that using the Sure-P scheme set up by former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration as cover following the partial removal of fuel subsidy in 2012, Suswam and his two aides were alleged to have transferred funds in several instalments from the State Ministry of Finance account to other banks intending to conceal them.

After criminal charges were filed against the former governor, a federal high court in sitting in Abuja ordered the trio be remanded in Kuje prisons. This verdict was given after the three defendants were arraigned on 32 counts of alleged diversion which Suswam pleaded not guilty to all counts read to them by Justice Gabriel Kolawole.

The Judgment has since been stalled with the senator continuously using his legislative duties as an excuse for adjournment of the case.

Following the end of his tenure as governor of Benue state, Suswam who is a no stranger to controversy and embattlement with various security forces in the country was arrested on a petition written by the incumbent governor Samuel Ortom to the DSS over the security situation in the state and his alleged plans to make the state ungovernable. Another arrest made on the former governor led to his being detained for 70 days for allegedly in possession of 45 exotic car keys, arms and ammunition, 21 certificates of occupancy of landed properties, among other things found in his cars parked at his Abuja residence. He sued the SSS for N10billion for violation of his human rights.

Despite his recent romance with the ruling All Progressives Congress(APC), Senator Suswam still has a fraud case against him by the Economic And Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) with mounting allegations of attempting to thwart the judgment to his favour by bribing the presiding judge. His two terms as governor of Benue State was characterized with several months of unpaid workers’ salaries and incessant strikes by workers in the state.

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