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Alleged N3bn loan diversion: Absence of judge stalls ‘whistleblower’s trail

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The absence of Justice Iniekenimi Uzakah of a High Court in Bayelsa on Monday stalled the trial of John Idumange, who raised an alarm over alleged diversion of N3 billion Agriculture loan by government officials in Bayelsa.

Our correspondent report that court registry staff informed litigants and their counsel that Justice Uzakah, will not be sitting.

Although no reason was advanced for the absence of the judge, court officials said that the judge had directed parties and their lawyers in the cases listed to pick a new date for adjournment.

The court clerks subsequently fixed Feb 1, for continuation of trial following agreement by Prosecution Counsel, Director of Public Prosecution in Bayelsa Mrs Iyobol Apulu and Defence Counsel Mr Ebikebuna Aluzu.

Our correspondent reports that 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.

It was reported that a Magistrates’ Court had on March 11 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.

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.

It was reported 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.

Nathan Nwakamma

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