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Arrested Jonah Okah remanded for defamation of character

Jonah Okah, a Bayelsa civil servant, has been remanded in Okaka Prison for alleged criminal deformation of Ritchie Etonye, the Govt House Accountant.

Justice Jonah Okah, a civil servant with Bayelsa state ministry, has been remanded in Okaka Prison by Magistrate Pere Bosa of Magistrate Court 7, for alleged criminal deformation of Mr. Ritchie Etonye, the Government House Accountant.

The matter was adjourned to September 20. 

Okah’s arrest and prosecution followed a petition to the police by Etonye, over a false allegation by Okah, which he also published on his face book account.

From the petition dated August 30, 2016, Okah claimed that he had a telephone conversion with Etonye.

He also claimed that he (Etonye) confessed to have absconded with $46 million belonging to the state government. 

He said he neither discussed with Okah as claimed nor absconded with any money belonging to the Bayelsa state government.

He said he was with Governor Seriake Dickson during the time of Okah’s false allegation.

He added that he had travelled with his boss to Akure in Ondo State. 

There the governor was the Chairman, of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), governorship primary election.

“No conversation took place between Mr. Jonah and myself. 

“The whole story (allegation) is a figment of the author’s imagination, deliberately crafted to maliciously defame my person, character, to ridicule my office” he stated.

Mr. Etonye expressed dismay over Okah’s conduct.

He had therefore petitioned the police to invite and interrogate Okah to prove the allegations, as he also threatened litigation, to prove his innocence and protect his reputation. 

He said Okah’s action is an offence according to the law, under section 302 of the criminal code, law of Bayelsa state.

Etonye requested that Okah should tender unreserved apology, which should be disseminated via same media, which he used for the false allegation against him. 

This he said will be as a condition to halt the litigation (Okah).

He also 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.

Continuing, he said: “The allegation of stealing and absconding made against me by Mr. Jonah Okah has subjected me to terrible shock, psychological trauma, low professional self-esteem and robbed me of the goodwill I have labored hard to earn over the years. 

“It was a malicious crafted propaganda designed to impugn my person, reputation and profession as a chartered accountant”.

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