Sunday, February 5, 2023

N3bn Fraud: Bayelsa whistleblower issued bench warrant

The judge insisted that the defendant must be produced in court and adjourned the case until July 26.

• July 19, 2021
John Idumange and Bayelsa State governor, Douye Diri
John Idumange and Bayelsa State governor, Douye Diri

A High Court in Bayelsa issued a bench warrant on Monday authorising the arrest of a former General Manager of Radio Bayelsa, John Idumange, who raised an alarm over the alleged diversion of three billion naira Agric loan by government officials.

Justice Iniekenimi Uzakah issued the warrant, following an oral application by the state prosecuting counsel E.S. Obed who noted that Mr Idumange has been absent from court to defend the charge against him.

The Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice in Bayelsa, Biriyai Sambo, SAN, sued Mr Idumange for misdemeanour and seditious publications against government officials, who Mr Idumange accused of diverting the loan.

The defence counsel, J.D. Olubowale had told the court that the defendant had an accident on his way to court, but the judge insisted that the defendant must be produced in court and adjourned the case until July 26.

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

Mr Idumange, who alleged that officials of the Bayelsa government diverted a three-billion naira Agric loan, was arrested on March 10 and charged to court the next day.

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

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

The case was earlier assigned to Justice Ebiyerin Omukoro but has been reassigned to Justice Uzakah.

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