By Esther Okafor
An Abuja Federal High Court Judge Ahmed Mohammed Monday withdrew from the trial of a former Governor of Benue State, Gabriel Suswam, and the Commissioner of Finance in his administration, Omodachi Okolobia.
The judge said his decision to withdraw from the case followed publication online Sahara reporters, accusing him of having been compromised to give Suswam a “soft landing”.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is prosecuting Suswam and Okolobia on money laundering charges involving the alleged diversion of N3billion stolen from proceeds of the sale of shares owned by Benue State Government.
The fourth prosecution witness, Mr. Abubakar Umar, was to continue his testimony on Monday, when the judge raised the issue of the online publication shortly after lawyers announced their appearance.
The prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), Suswam’s lawyer, Joseph Daudu, and that of Okolobia, all urged the judge to shun the report, which they said was the handiwork of mischief makers.
But in his ruling, Justice Mohammed said the best option was for him to withdraw from the case and remit the case file back to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court.