The federal government has arraigned a former Benue State governor, Gabriel Suswam, before an Abuja division of the Federal High Court for money laundering and illegal possession of firearms.
Suswam was arraigned on three counts on Friday, July 6, 2018, over two weeks after he was arrested by the Department of State Services (DSS) for undisclosed reasons.
Suswam had previously been arrested in 2017 and held for two months after operatives recovered a large cache of arms, ammunitions and other incriminating items from an Abuja property allegedly belonging to him. He was released without charges.
The charge filed against him on Friday relate to the discovery of those weapons as he is accused of illegally concealing weapons in his Mercedes Benz 550 4Matic car with registration number: BWR 135 AH parked at Dunes Investment and Properties Ltd, No. 44 Aguiyi lronsi Way, Maitama, Abuja,
In the charge that was filed on June 26, 2018, the former governor also stands accused of converting 25 designer wristwatches worth several millions of naira being properties derived directly from corruption and concealed in the same Mercedes Benz.
"You thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15(1)(a)(ii) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 and punishable under the same section of the Act," the charge sheet read.
In the third count of the charge, Suwam is accused of possession of a Gloek Pistol with serial number KML 275, one mini rifle with serial number 54976 and one AK-47 rifle with serial number 5622620063, concealed in the Mercedes Benz.
Suswam granted bail
Suswam pleaded not guilty to the charge when it was read to him before Justice Babatunde Quadrim who granted him bail at N500 million (one surety) based on a request made by his counsel, Paul Erokoro (SAN),who noted that he has medical conditions that require regular medical attention and treatment. The surety of the bail must be a resident of Abuja whose address is verified by the court.
Justice Quadrim adjourned till October 24, 2018, for the commencement of trial.
Suswam is standing two other separate trials for diverting proceeds of the sale of Benue State's investment in some companies, and diverting funds meant for SURE P projects in the state when he was governor.