For about seven hours, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday quizzed ex-Benue State Governor Gabriel Suswam for alleged N130billion debt and disposal of shares of the state in a cement company.
The interaction with Suswam was the first phase of the preliminary investigation into allegations of fraud, embezzlement and diversion of funds against the last government in the state.
More former government officials in the Suswam administration may be invited.
A source said the ex-governor arrived at the EFCC headquarters about 10am.
The source, who spoke in confidence, said: “The allegations against the ex-governor border on non-accountability for the proceeds of the shares of the state in a cement company, which were disposed off.
“He is being investigated for alleged fraud, embezzlement and diversion of funds including how the state accumulated N130billion debts.
“Suswam was asked to make a statement and respond to the allegations against him, most of which emanated from the report of the transition committee.
“Earlier, we interrogated the commissioner for Finance under Suswam. He made statements and we will seek clarification or corroboration from the ex-governor.”
The Head of Media and Publicity of the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, said: “The former governor of Benue State was here to interact with our team on some issues.”
He declined further comments “in order not to jeopardise ongoing investigation.”
A source close to Suswam confirmed his appearance before the EFCC operatives.
The source added: “The ex-governor was not arrested as being insinuated. He was invited by the EFCC and as a leader with respect for the rule of law , he honoured the invitation.
“The fact that he was asked to respond to some allegations does not amount to trial. Some of these allegations are indeed frivolous and the people of Benue State will soon know the truth.
“ As far as Suswam is concerned, the EFCC is conducting a fact-finding. So, Suswam is innocent as we speak until proved otherwise by the EFCC.”
Suswam was released last night on bail.