The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC), at the Federal High Court in Abuja said a key witness in the ongoing trial of former governor of Benue State, Gabriel Suswam is hostile and has committed perjury under the law.
The witness for the defense team, Abubakar Umar, a Bureau De Change operator, narrated before trial Judge Ahmed Mohammed, that he helped former governor to convert the sum of three billion (N3.111 billion) into dollars between August and October 2014.
Umar, who is the fourth principal witness, PW-4, said he converted the money which he said amounted to $15.8 million, and took same to Suswam at the government house in Benue. In an Evidence-In-Chief, he gave through a Hausa interpreter, the PW-4, told the court that Suswam requested for the account number of his company -Fanffash Resources- through which he wired funds from the Benue state treasury on six separate occasions.
During a cross examination by Rotimi Jacobs SAN, the prosecution counsel, the witness, told the court that the report he gave at the EFCC’s office was not written by him and that it is possible for the writer (his in-law) to have written the wrong narration he gave.
To counter what Mr. Abubakar, Jacobs reminded him about another report he wrote at the EFCC’s office, the report was read out to him by a Hausa interpreter.
According to him ‘’ the report I gave at the EFCC’s office is the truth, I gave another report because Suswam met me after the last court hearing. He asked me why I had to say all that, he then told me to go see his lawyer that he will tell me what to say at the next court hearing.
After that day I received a call from one of Suswam’s people, he said if I can change my story that they are going to pay me huge about of money, when I got to the lawyer’s office he told me what to say at the next court proceeding.
But now I have made up my mind to stand by the truth and the truth only’’
Jacobs also expressed his surprise when Mr. Abubakar, the witness said he could not communicate in English Language.
He went further by telling the court that the witness only told him he could not write in English that Mr. Abubakar’s conversation with him as always been in English.
Ahmad Raji, defense counsel gave two premises why the report submitted by Jacobs can’t be accepted. He said until he can produce the Hausa version of the report and a signed English version by the witness, and the video of the witness’s report at the EFCC’S office.
Adding that there is an irregularity in the signatures.
Jacobs SAN gave a counter-argument, saying the signature on the report was for the witness and that they have the full video coverage of the witness at the EFCC’s office.
Justice AR Mohammed, the presiding judge adjourned for further cross-examination till March.