The Federal Government on Friday, at the Federal High Court, Abuja, arraigned former governor of Benue, Gabriel Suswam on a fresh three-count charge bordering on illegal possession of firearms and money laundering.
The Federal Government, in the charge, accused Suswam of converting 25 designer wrist watches worth several millions of naira, property derived directly from corruption and concealed in a Mercedes Benz car.
“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.”
Suswam was also accused of illegally concealing weapons in the same Mercedes Benz car parked at Dunes Investment and Properties Ltd, No. 44 Aguiyi lronsi Way, Maitama, Abuja.
According to the prosecution this is an offence contrary to Section 3 of the Firearms Act and punishable under Section 27(1)(a)(1) of the same Act.
The former governor pleaded not guilty to the fresh charges following which the prosecuting counsel, Mr Aminu Alilu, asked the court for a date to commence trial.
Alilu also asked the court to order that Suswam be remanded in prison pending the hearing and determination of the case.
Suswam’s counsel, Mr Paul Erokoro (SAN), however, told the court that he had filed an application for his client ‘s bail.
Erokoro prayed the court to admit his client to bail on liberal terms, noting that Suswam was on bail in two other charges filed against him by the Federal Government.
Attached to the bail application was an exhibit showing that Suswam had an enlarged heart, a life threatening condition, which required regular medical attention and treatment.
The lawyer, who noted that the application was not opposed, further told the court that his client was a respectable man in society and would not breach the terms of his bail when granted.
Alilu did not oppose the application, but prayed the court to use its discretion in granting the bail and added that the prosecution intended to call four witnesses in the matter.
The trial judge, Justice Babatunde Quadri, admitted Suswam to bail in the sum of N500 million and one surety in like sum.
The surety must be a resident of the Federal Capital Territory, should swear to an affidavit of means, submit one passport photograph to the court and his residential address must be verified by officials of the court.
The judge adjoined the matter until Oct. 24 and 25.