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Alleged N3bn loan diversion: Court adjourns ‘whistleblower’s trail to March 23


Justice Iniekenimi Uzakah of a Bayelsa High Court  on Monday adjourned until March 23, trial of John Idumange, who raised an alarm over alleged diversion of N3 billion Agriculture loan by government officials.

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When the case came up, Prosecuting Counsel, Mrs Iyobosa Apulu expressed disappointment over the absence of the defendant despite a bench warrant issued to compel him to appear in court.

Apulu, who is the Director of Public Prosecution in Bayelsa noted that Idumange had resorted to frequent change of counsels as a ploy to delay trial and urged the court to take steps to execute the bench warrant.

The judge subsequently asked Apulu and Defense  Counsel Mr Ebikebuna Aluzu to pick a date for Idumange to take his plea for the trial to make progress.

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 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 who allegedly masterminded the diversion of the fund, 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.

It would be recalled that 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.

The Attorney-General had in the letter requesting reassignment of the case to another judge, alleged that Justice Omukoro exhibited bias in granting bail to the accused.



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