The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has ordered a former Governor of Benue State, Gabriel Suswam, and two of his former aides, to be remanded in Kuje Prisons, Abuja.

Justice Gabriel Kolawole, on Monday, during court session, made the remand order after the three defendants were arraigned on 32 counts of diversion of a total sum of N9.79bn meant for the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme.

Although the judge granted each of the three defendants bail in the sum of N250m, among other conditions, he ordered that they should be remanded in prison pending when the Deputy Chief Registrar, Litigation of the Federal High Court, Abuja would inform the court that the bail conditions had been met, The Punch reports.

The prosecution had alleged in the 32 counts preferred against the three defendants that a total of N9,791,602,453.8 was meant for the SURE-P scheme and a small fraction of it for police reform.

The prosecution also added that the money was allegedly diverted by the defendants between 2012 and 2015 when Suswam was the governor of the state.

The prosecution accused the three defendants in the 32 counts of conspiracy, conversion of property, which is a cumulative sum of N9.79bn, allegedly derived directly from corruption; collaboration to conceal the property derived from corruption; obtaining by false pretences and accepting cash payments exceeding the amount authorised by the law.

The offences were said to be contrary to and punishable under various provisions of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 and Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act.

Meanwhile, Suswam and his co-defendants pleaded not guilty to all the 32 counts when read to them before Justice Kolawole.

Aside Suswam, others named as defendants are a former commissioner in Benue State, Mr. Omadachi Oklobia, and a former Accountant, Benue State Government House Administration, Mrs. Janet Aluga.

After much deliberation Justice Kolawole fixed October 10, 17, 19, 20 at 11.45am on each of the days for trial.

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