A former Governor of Benue State Gabriel Suswam was arrested yesterday by the Department of State Security, DSS, in connection with illegal firearms, plots of land, designer watches and exotic cars.
Suswam, a Peoples Democratic Party, PDP chieftain, is a former member of House of Representatives and two-term governor of Benue state.
He was picked by the secret service on Saturday after a raid on an Abuja property said to belong to him.
The weapons recovered from the former governor included a Glock pistol with two magazines and total of 29 rounds of ammunition; a mini-Uzi with two magazines containing 10 rounds and four rounds respectively; 42 extra rounds of ammunition; and one AK-47.
A statement yesterday by the secret service official, Toyin Opuiyo, said 21 Certificates of Occupancy (CsofO); one Offer of Statutory Right of Occupancy; 23 designer watches; and 45 keys to various exotic cars were recovered from Suswam.
These items were recovered from boots of Mercedes Benz S550 (BWR 135AH), and Maserati 4.7 (BWR 207 AJ), parked inside Dunes Investment and Global Properties Ltd, located at No 44 Aguiyi Ironsi Way, Maitama, Abuja.
The former governor is already facing N3.1 billion fraud charges. On November 10, 2015, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, arraigned him and his Finance Commissioner, Omodachi Okolobia, before Justice A.R Muhammad of the Federal High Court, Maitama, Abuja, on a 9-count charge of conspiracy, bribery and abuse of office.
The anti-graft agency said Suswam, in connivance with Okolobia allegedly diverted proceeds of the sale of shares owned by the Benue State government and Benue Investment and Property Company Limited for personal use.
The offence is punishable under Section 15 (3) 0f the Money Laundering Act 2011, as amended in 2012. The accused persons pleaded not guilty.
The DSS police said the “operation was informed by intelligence that some incriminating items were stashed in the boots of cars parked at the property.”
The following day, Saturday, a search warrant was executed, and the cars were searched in the presence of two private security officers employed by Dunes Investment.
“Following this discovery, the Service launched further investigation which revealed that the cars and the recovered items belong to the former Governor of Benue State, Gabriel Suswam who has already been invited by the Service and presently helping in the investigations,” the statement said.
The DSS warned that it will no longer tolerate any acts of lawlessness by those who ought to be law abiding and responsible citizens.
The secret service said, “it has also observed with total dismay the inciting utterances of some political actors whose activities heat-up the polity.”
The DSS also expressed “its disappointment with these politicians who, in their desperation, are engaged in hate speeches and even sponsorship of radio campaign jingles when the electoral umpire has not authorized such campaigns in line with the Electoral Act.”
It berated some media organisations for their “unpatriotic involvement…in these divisive tendencies which negate their constitutional role as the fourth estate of the realm.”
The security service said it will “go after anyone no matter how highly placed who engages in acts capable of causing the breach of peace in the country.”