June 21, 2024

Bayelsa govt refiles suit against whistle-blower who alleged diversion of N3bn loan

Bayelsa govt refiles suit against whistle-blower who alleged diversion of N3bn loan

Nathan Tamarapreye, Yenagoa

The Bayelsa government has refiled a suit against John Idumange, who raised an alarm over the alleged diversion of N3 billion Agriculture loan by government officials.

Justice Iniekenimi Uzakah of the State High Court in Yenogoa had struck out the suit which he inherited from Justice Ebiyerin Omukoro of the State High Court.

When the case came up before Justice Iniekade Eradiri, of Court 5, Bayelsa High Court, the Prosecution Counsel, Mr John Prosper apologised for the absence of the defendant.

Prosper told the court that he learnt that following the striking out of the case by Uzakah, the defendant, Idumange travelled out of the country for a short course.

“The defendant is not even aware that the case has been re-filed and I heard he will be returning to the country by end of June, so I appeal to the court to give reasonable time.

“The adjournment will allow the prosecution to put its house in order and produce the defendant for arraignment to take his plea,” Prosper said.

The Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice in Bayelsa, Biriyai Sambo, SAN, filed a suit against Idumange for misdemeanour and seditious publications against government officials.

A Magistrates’ Court had on March 11, 2021, in Yenagoa, ordered Idumange’s detention for 30 days, pending police investigation.

Idumange, who alleged that officials of the Bayelsa government had diverted a N3 billion Agric loan and subsequently submitted a petition to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, was arrested on March 10, 2021.

Some officials of the state government reported to the police that Idumange, made seditious publications that maligned their persons in his claims.

However, the State High Court, Sagbama Division, granted bail to Idumange, who was also an aide on Research and Documentation and later social media to former Bayelsa Governor, Seriake Dickson.

The case, earlier assigned to Justice Ebiyerin Omukoro, was reassigned to Justice Uzakah following a written request by the state Attorney-General to the Chief Judge of Bayelsa, Justice Kate Abiri.

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