By Emem Idio
A former speech writer to ex-governor Timipre Sylva, Mr. Jonah Okah has been arraigned before Magistrate Court 7 in Yenagoa, over an allege case of criminal defamation levied against Mr. Ritchie Etonye, the Bayelsa state Government House Accountant.
The accused, a staff of the state judiciary who was arraigned before Magistrate Pere Bossa pleaded not guilty to the charges brought against him but was asked to be remanded in Okaka Prisons, in Yenagoa, while the case has been adjourned to September 20.
His arrest and prosecution followed a petition to the police by Mr. Ritchie Etonye over a false allegation Okah levied against him, which he also publicized on his Facebook account, where he (Okah) claimed that he had discussed with Etonye on the phone and that he confessed to have absconded with the sum of $4.6 million, belonging to the state government.
While expressing his innocence, Etonye stressed in the petition dated 30th August, 2016, that he neither discussed with Okah, as he claimed nor absconded with any money belonging to the Bayelsa State Government, stressing that, Okah’s action constituted an offence under section 302 of the criminal code law of Bayelsa State.
Etonye is demanding among other things an unreserved apology from Okah, which should also be disseminated via same media he used for the false allegation against him as condition to halt litigation against Okah.
He further requested Okah to publish the apology letter in two national newspapers and two local papers with a copy addressed to his professional body, the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria, ANAN, to clear his name of any misconduct.