imageA group known as Benue Watch, which is seeking arrest and probe of former Governor Gabriel Suswam, has written to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), reminding it of a petition it  filed earlier against the  ex-governor.

In the petition release on, the group accused the former governor of embezzlement of government funds and various financial crimes, and urged the commission to investigate thoroughly, saying it will go a long way in restoring the confidence of
 Benue indigenes in the anti-corruption crusade by the new leadership in Nigeria.

Read full text of the petition below:

To Whom It May Concern at EFCC:

(We sent this petition to your office on August 1, 2011, but nothing happened. This is re-submission of the petition) – Benue Watch

We write as indigenes of Benue State to draw your attention to the 
lack of integrity and accountability as shown in the nature of
 transactions the former Executive Governor, Rt. Hon. Gabriel Torwua Suswam
 engages in with commercial banks in Nigeria. As you are aware, the 
minimum wage Act was recently passed into law by the National Assembly
 and assented to by President Goodluck Jonathan, GCFR.

Hence, all 
Nigerians are today witness to the current debate about the minimum
 wage both in the print and broadcast media. It is mostly centred on
 whether or not states can afford to pay. In his contribution to the
 debate, this is what the Governor of Benue State Rt. Hon. Dr Gabriel
 Suswam had to say:

 “The implementation of the N18, 000 new minimum wage would only be
possible in Benue State only if the Federal Government would remove
 subsidy or review upwards the federation allocation in favour of the
 state. Speaking at the Full Gospel Businessmen Fellowship at 
Government House, Makurdi on July 7, 2011, Governor Suswam pointed out 
that it will cost the state government about N4billion to implement
 the policy, a situation he noted was not possible.


But Sir, we wish to draw your attention to an issue bordering on 
corruption and violation of applicable federal laws. Shortly before
 Governor Suswam embarked on his vacation trip in July, we received
 information through our very reliable contacts that the Governor of
 Benue State authorized the withdrawal of N1billion in cash from First
 City Monument Bank Plc, Makurdi Branch. This is the same bank that 
houses one of the accounts of the Benue State Internal Revenue Service 
(BIRS) which is headed by Mr. Andy Ayabam who until his appointed was
a staff of the Bank. As a reward, the Bank Manager and his staff who 
facilitated the secrecy were given N20m to share which brought about
 disagreements in the sharing formula and we got to hear. 

In the light of the above, we together do solemnly exhort you Sir, to 
use your good offices to cause a thorough investigation, arrest and
 prosecution of all individuals involved in this impunity and several
 others against the suffering masses of our people in Benue State to 
the fullest extent of the law.

Specifically, we request:

i) Probe the Branch Manager of the Bank and the N1billion withdrawal
 and other withdrawals made in the like form.

ii) The immediate investigation of one Mr. Barclays Msughter Nguher
 who uses his position at the Nigeria Intelligence Agency (NIA) to
 liaise with his colleagues in the Foreign Mission to assist Governor 
Suswam launder money.

iii) Investigate the activities and accounts of the Benue State Board
 of Internal Revenue Service particularly as they have claimed to be
 generating about N1bn monthly and the State Government on the other
 hand acknowledged receipt of about N350m for BIRS.

iv) Thoroughly investigate the purported lease of the BIRS office
 located along Gboko Road at the cost of N30m per annum at N450m for 15
 years. The property in question belongs to one Chris Dura Aondo a 
former Commissioner for Science and Technology and now Special Adviser 
to Governor Suswam on Special Duties.

v) Investigation of contracts awarded without due process where huge 
sums of money have been purportedly paid but same projects abandoned
 by the contractors for non-payment.

vi) Investigate money laundering activities of Governor Suswam
 through Triumph Energy and Petrochemicals Limited with United Bank for
 Africa Plc, Ogiri Oko Road, opposite Central Bank of Nigeria, Makurdi,
with account number 00520030003223. The company has as its Managing
 Director, Master Shima Suswam, a minor and son of Governor Gabriel 
Suswam where the Governor uses his passport and regular signature to
 operate the account as Shima Suswam. The company had requested for a 
working capital facility of N500, 000,000.00 (Five Hundred Million
 Naira only) from United Bank for Africa Plc which was approved.

Subsequently a Managers Cheque (Bank Draft) with Serial number
 03958692 dated 06-08-2008 was issued for N500m in favour of Ayinteph
 Nigeria Limited. (Ayinteph Nigeria Limited is not incorporated by the 
Corporate Affairs Commission) on the instruction of Shima Suswam (The 
Managing Director). The said facility was collaterized with a shopping
 complex located at Plot 644, T.O.S Benson Crescent, Utako District, Abuja belonging to Hastopag Nigeria Limited, one of the Companies 
owned by Her Excellency, Arc. Yemisi Suswam, the Wife of the Executive
 Governor of Benue State. Hastopag Nigeria Limited with RC 375698 was
 incorporated on 17th December, 2000 and has the following Directors –
Paul-Harris Ogbole, Grace Albert and Tor Dom.

vii) Thoroughly investigate the Bureau for Local Government and
 Chieftaincy Affairs where despite the Local Government Allocations,
 Local Governments in the state have not been able to pay their
 salaries up to date as result of arbitrary deductions by the Bureau.

viii) Investigate the N2billion Bank Guarantee obtained by the Benue
 State with Intercontinental Bank Plc in favour of Metropole Nigeria
 Ltd purportedly owned by Arch. Yemisi Suswam the wife of the Governor
 for the construction of the abandoned Makurdi International Market
 located along Makurdi Inner Road. The actual amount required then was
 N1.7 billion.

ix) Thoroughly investigate the N1billion revolving overdraft by the
 Benue State Government without the State Exco and Benue State House of 
Assembly approval with the United Bank for Africa Plc, Ogiri Oko Road 
Branch which houses the Federation Allocation Account (FAAC).

overdraft had a 365 days clean up cycle.

This will surely go a long way in restoring the sagging confidence of
 Benue State indigenes in their leadership and Nigerians to a large
 extent in the anti-corruption crusade. Your prompt action will 
therefore be necessary since we have it on good authority that,
 Governor Suswam has not been able to defend his certificate forgery at
 the Benue State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in
 Makurdi and might be using this as a means of siphoning state funds in
order to relocate out of Nigeria.

Many thanks


Sincerely, Benue Watch



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