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Alleged N3bn Agric  loan diversion: change of Idumange’s counsel stalls trial

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The change of counsel to John Idumange, a former General Manager of Radio Bayelsa, who raised an alarm over alleged diversion of N3 billion Agric loan by government officials on Friday stalled trial at a Bayelsa High Court.

When the case was called for hearing, a new counsel Ms Ebiye Enegi who announced her appearance for Idumange urged the court to grant a short adjournment to enable her study the case file as she was only briefed the previous day.

She apologized for Idumange’s absence in court adding that the defendant was currently in hospital for treaent .

The prosecution led by Mrs Iyobosa Apulu, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in Bayelsa, who said she had no objection to the adjournment sought by the new lawyer noted that the case has severally been adjourned at the instance of the defendant.

“We do not have any objection to this request for adjournment based on a new lawyer taking over, however it should be noted that this is one adjournment, to many on this case.

“The reasons have ranged from accident to Ill health without any concrete evidence before the court, there is no detail of how the accident happened or the nature of the sickness.

”We do hope that the new defence counsel will do her utmost best and bring the defendant to court to take his plea,” Iyobosa said.

Justice Iniekenimi Uzakah subsequently adjourned the matter until Sept. 15.

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

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 had reported to the police that Idumange had 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.

 

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