…He has been compromised – EFCC
From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
There was drama in court yesterday as a witness of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) denied handing over $15.8 million to former Benue State governor, Dr. Gabriel Suswam at his Maitama, Abuja residence.
This was contrary to his statement on oath that the money was given to the former governor.
Irked by the sudden somersault, the prosecution counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs, threatened to charge him along with the former governor for playing pranks.
The witness, Mallam Abubakar Umar, who was led by Jacobs had told the court how he allegedly received phone calls from Suswam in August 2014 for a business deal at his residence.
Umar, a Bureau De Change operator, trading under the name Fanfash Resources Ltd, Abuja told Justice Ahmed Mohammed, how N3.1billion was paid into his company’s account in tranches by an unnamed aide of the former governor.
The witness further testified that he was mandated by the unnamed aide to convert the said N3.1billion at the then exchange rate of N197 to a dollar.
He told the court that 15.8 million dollars was realized at the end of the exchange.
Trouble however started for the prosecution when the witness who had earlier in his statement to EFCC admitted that $15.8million was taken to the residence of the former governor in Abuja made a U-turn and said the money was taken to Government House in Makurdi, Benue State.
Efforts by Jacobs to rationalise the evidence of the witness were unsuccessful as Umar insisted that the money was delivered to Government House in Benue State and not the Abuja residence of the former governor.
At this stage, the EFCC lead Counsel became uncomfortable with contradictions in the evidence of the witness, who stood his ground, that he did not deliver the huge sum either to Suswan as a person or to his house in Maitama, Abuja.
In the bid to save the trial from being collapsed by the witness due to the contradictions, Jacobs applied to Justice Mohammed to grant him adjournment to enable him put his house in order.
However, Counsel to Suswan, Mr. Joseph Daudu, opposed the application, adding that in law what the prosecution ought to do is to treat the witness as a hostile witness.