N3bn Loan: Ex-Bayelsa Radio GM Drags Justice Commissioner Before NBA
Former General Manager of Bayelsa State Broadcasting Corporation, Mr. John Idumange, has filed a petitioned against the State’s Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General, Mr. Biriyai Dambo (SAN) before the Disciplinary Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).
Idumange, in the petition, alleged that the attorney-general perverted justice and influenced the outcome of his case with the state government over alleged misappropriation of N3 billion agricultural loan.
He alleged that Dambo sent a letter to the Chief Judge, Justice Kate Abiri, instructing her to move the case out of the court presided over by Justice E.J Omukoro and send it to a court presided over by his friend, Justice E. Uzakah.
He recalled his arrest on charge of sedition in March this year by the Bayelsa State Government after he revealed how the state government allegedly shared N3 billion agric loan to top politicians in the state.
The embattled former Bayelsa Radio’s GM, in the petition submitted before the NBA, claimed that the case was moved despite knowing the fact that Justice Uzakah would do the bidding of his friend by remanding him in prison illegally.
The petition reads: “As a highly esteemed professional body, I am aware that one of the institutional core objectives of the NBA is the maintenance of the integrity and independence of the bar and the judiciary.
“As a senior lawyer, the attorney-general is aware that the NBA holds tenaciously to this bastion of the rule of law. Sadly, he is carried away by his exalted office and could flagrantly violate the rule of law with impunity.
“After all, he said the NBA’s chairman is not a senior advocate. In all modesty, the unprofessional manner he has been going about these matter smacks of a compromised judiciary, which negates the fundamental values of sane jurisprudence”.
“The Bayelsa State Government received an agricultural loan of N3 billion from the Central Bank of Nigeria, (CBN). The first tranche of the loan was received at about March-April 2020. Government never made a statement on it because the tranche of N1.5 billion was supposedly misappropriated.
“The second tranche of N1.5billion was paid in February-March 2021. Realising the body language of government in concealing and misappropriating the loan for farmers, I blew the whistle that the loan should be given to Bayelsa Farmers. The loan was specifically meant for farmers.
“In our Facebook discussion, I mentioned two government officials who are beneficiaries of the loan because I am privy to how the loan was shared among the political elites instead of allocating the loan to Bayelsa farmers. I had approached the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on March 8, 2021, to intervene to ensure the loan got to the farmers.
“To forestall and scuttle investigations, I was promptly arrested on March 10, 2021, at the gate of a broadcasting station where I was supposed to feature on a programme on accessing loans by farmers. I was detained for three days before I was arraigned in court on charges of sedition. At the law court, the Chief Magistrate refused to record my counsels and said and I quote ‘I am here to rule on whether to remand somebody or not; I don’t know why up to nine lawyers are attending court for one man.’
“I was thus denied legal representation and the court refused to grant me bail. I was detained again for two days. The lead counsel, – who was the immediateAttorney-General of Bayelsa State, Mr. A.S. Arthur, approached the High Court in Sagbama, which granted me bail, knowing that I had already lodged a petition of financial misappropriation and economic crimes against some highly placed government officials on March 8, 2021. As we speak, the EFCC has frozen the bank accounts of recipients of the fraudulent monies laundered into their accounts. They have identified those who misappropriated the farmers’ loans.
“In the midst of these sundry breaches of the rule is the Attorney-General of the State Mr. Biriyai Dambo (SAN), whose sworn affidavit appears to be a hireling doing some MAN FRIDAY’S JOB to demean the integrity of the judiciary is spearheading the pernicious act of pushing for my detention.”
Culled from Thisday