Abubakar Umar, Principal Witness 4, in the matter brought against former governor of Benue state, Gabriel Suswam by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has explained how Suswam fuelled a total of N3.1billion into his account to convert into US Dollars. He made the testimony at the resumption of trial while being led in evidence by the prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jacobs SAN, before Justice Ramat Mohammed of an Abuja Federal High Court. Umar who had been into the business of foreign exchange since 1990, affirmed that he uses his company’s name, Famfash resources to run his business activities.
He said upon meeting the former governor in 2014, they got engaging in the business of foreign exchange.
The witness through the aid of an interpreter said: “I was called through the former governor’s telephone line 08180525252 to come and see him at his Maitama residence.
” I went to the house and the former governor told me to give a fair lady my account number, that money would be deposited in it”.
When asked what the money was meant for, he told the court that he was only asked by Suswam to drop his account number and use the money to be sent to buy Forex in US Dollars and bring them to his house.
He affirmed that the sum of N413million was the first deposit he got on August 8, 2014, while another N360million and N637million was also credited to his account on September 12, 2014.
On October 13, 2014, the sum of N630million and N8.018million were credited into the said account and another N1.68billion was also paid on October 17, 2014, all of which were converted into US Dollars. According to him, a total of N 3.11billion was converted at N170 to $15.8million, while they were transferred to Suswam in batches, as his account was being credited with the Naira equivalents.
But when asked where he went to give Suswam the money, the witness who in his statement to the EFCC said he gave the money to Suswam at his Maitama residence, insistently said that, he went to give the monies to Suswam at the government house. Upon this, Jacobs sought the court for an adjournment so as to put his house in order.
In his objection, Audu Anuga, counsel to the second defendant sought the court not to grant the adjournment and even restrict the prosecution from investigation or arresting the witness.
But in his short ruling, Justice Mohammed granted the adjournment insisting that there are no evidences before it to prove that the adjournment being sought would lead to the prosecution, arm twisting the witness into giving evidence in a particular manner it wants.
It will be recalled that Aluyi Victor, a porfolio manager at Elixir Investment Partners Limited had earlier told the court that, Elixir Investment got instruction to pay; N3.11 billion was paid into the account of one Famfash resources following a written instruction from Benue Investment Properties Limited (BIPCL) to Elixir Securities. Trial judge however adjourned the matter to May 9 and 10, 2016 for continuation of trial.