Court strikes out Suswam N10bn suit against DSS, AGF


..To be arraigned Thursday

A Federal High Court in Abuja has struck out a N10billion suit filed by former Benue State governor, Gabriel Suswam against the Department of State Services, its Director-General, Lawal Daura and the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) Abubakar Malami (SAN).

Justice Gabriel Kolawole in a ruling Wednesday, said he would strike the suit out because of an application by Suswam’s lawyer, Joseph Daudu (SAN) for the withdrawal of the suit.

Suswam had filed the suit, a fundamental rights enforcement suit, shortly after he was arrested on February 25, 2017.

He was released from the custody of the DSS on May 7 after spending about 70 days in detention, was present in court on Wednesday.

Suswam, who is being tried by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) before Justice Ahmed Mohammed (also of the Federal High Court, Abuja), was absent in court on Tuesday when the case came up.

Although his co-defendant, Omadachi Oklobia (Finance Commissioner under Suswam) was in court, Suswam was said to be indisposed.They are being tried for allegedly diverting Benue state’s funds estimated at over N3b.

The office of the AGF also, on March 27 filed a 32-count charge against Suswam and the two others, accusing them of diverting the sum of N9,791,602,453.8, part of which was meant for police reform and the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P).

Also named in the charge are Oklobia, and former Accountant, Benue State Government House Administration, Mrs. Janet Aluga.

They were to be arraigbed on the new charge on April 11, but for the absence of Suswam, who was by then, in the custody of the DSS.

The development prompted Justice Kolawole to order the DSS to ptoduce him on the next date and adjourned to May 11.
It is not clear if Suswam, said to be indisposed, will attend court today on his own, since the DSS that the judge ordered to produce him has released him.


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