Lack of interpreter stalls Suswam’s alleged N10b fraud trial



Inability of the Federal Government to get an interpreter for its witnesses yesterday stalled the trial of former Benue State governor, Mr. Gabriel Suswam in the N10 billion fraud charges brought against him.

The Federal High Court in Abuja prosecuting Suswam in the alleged fraud charges was stunned when the fourth prosecution witnesses informed the court that he is an illiterate and does not understand English Language, being the official language in the court.

However, all efforts on the part of the prosecution to get an interpreter to interpret the local language of the witness to English Language proved abortive.

In the drama that followed, the prosecution counsel, Adebisi Adeniyi, pleaded with Justice Ahmed Ramat Mohammed to adjourn the trial till today to enable him source for a competent interpreter.

The defense counsel led by Mr. Joseph Daudu (SAN) did not object to the request for adjournment but urged Justice Mohammed to adjourn the matter till May 5, 2016 so as to give the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) ample opportunity to get necessary interpreters.

Justice Mohammed in his brief ruling agreed with the defense counsel and adjourned hearing in the matter till May 5, 2016.

Mr. Suswam and his Commissioner of Finance, Omodachi Okolobia, are facing a nine-count charge bordering on money laundering, abuse of office and obtaining N3.1 billion under false pretences.

They were also alleged to have diverted proceeds from the sales of Benue State Government and Benue Investment and Property Company Limited.

A witness in the last sitting of the court on Tuesday, March 22, insisted that some private accounts received remittances from the Benue shares sales.

Counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Rotimi Jacobs had earlier told the court that Elixir Investment got instructions from Suswam to pay N1 billion into the account of Benue Investment Properties Limited (BIPCL).

Jacobs said a balance of the remittance of the sale of shares was paid into the account of the Benue State government.

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