UPDATED: How Former JAMB Boss Ojerinde Spent N341.9 Million Diverted From NECO

A witness for the prosecution recounted how a former Registrar of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Dibu Ojeriende, allegedly siphoned off N341.9 million from the National Examinations Council (NECO) to set up a personal printing shop, a school and acquire other assets. . .

Mr. Ojerinde served as Registrar for NECO between 1999 and 2007 before becoming CEO of JAMB in April 2012.

The witness, Jimoh Olatunde, testified at the Niger State High Court in Minna, where Mr. Ojerinde is being tried on 10 counts of official corruption and abuse of power, an ICPC statement said on Sunday.

According to the statement signed by the spokeswoman for the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission and other related crimes (ICPC), Azuka Ogugwa, the witness appeared in court on Thursday.

The first witness for the prosecution, Mr. Olatunde, testified that out of the more than N341.9 million of stolen money, NECO 216 million was deceptively withdrawn from the NECO account for payments of 17 fictitious printing contracts, which were actually used to set up the printing press for Mr. Ojerinde.

The witness, a former deputy director and chief treasury officer at NECO, said: “We follow due process for awarding contracts strictly on paper, but I confirm to this court that I know what happened underneath despite the perfection of it all.” documents and processes.

”Let me give you an example, between 2004 and 2005, most of the printing contracts were awarded to these 17 companies owned by a friend of Professor Dibu Ojerinde. He was in charge of all the printing materials at NECO.

“He brought a handwritten bill of N246,914,890 when he wanted to set up a printing shop for Professor Dibu Ojeriende and I was ordered to pay 87.6 percent which amounts to N216,297,443 only. We perfected all the documents by awarding fictitious contracts to the 17 companies”.

Led by the prosecutor, Ebenezer Shogunle, Mr. Olatunde told the court how he acquired property in Minna for Mr. Ojerinde under various aliases, including Muri Lamidi and a fictitious address in Kontagora, Niger state.

The witness further referred to a multi-storey building known as ‘Tejumola House’, Ojodu, Lagos, which was purchased in 2003, in the name of Doyin Ogbohi Industries Ltd from Intercontinental Bank for N27 million and Sapati International School, Ilorin, State of Kwara, which was built with an initial contract sum of N98.6 million.

The witness, who assumed responsibility for all of NECO’s illegal withdrawals of funds, being the Chief Treasury Officer at the time of the alleged fraud, told the court that the assets were purchased with stolen public funds.

A total of 18 documents were submitted and admitted into evidence, including correspondence addressed to the witness as ‘Client’s Representative’ by the various contractors used for the projects, as well as Bills of Quantities.

The witness also handed over some documents to prove that several shares in some blue chip companies acquired by the former JAMB chief were transferred to ‘Madiba’sTrust’, an entity created to consolidate.

While being questioned by defense counsel, Ibrahim Ishyaku, Senior Counsel for Nigeria (SAN), the prosecution witness presented a list of 17 companies that he said were used to siphon NECO funds to acquire some of the companies and assets for the benefit of the defendant.

ALSO READ: Court warns ICPC not to delay trial of former JAMB registrar Dibu Ojerinde

The matter was adjourned to March 7-8, 2022 for further hearing following a complaint of back pain by the witness and further cross-examination by defense counsel.

Mr Olatunde’s testimony came some two weeks after a prosecution witness, Peter Oyewole, told the Federal High Court in Abuja how the former JAMB registrar allegedly acquired select assets through associates while in office.

Mr. Ojerinde faces 18 counts in the Abuja Federal High Court, where the ICPC accused him of embezzling N5.2 billion in public funds during his time as CEO of NECO and JAMB.

A long road to judgment

Ojerinde’s troubles began after his departure as former head of JAMB on August 1, 2016.

His successor, Ishaq Oloyede, after taking office began remitting unspent revenue to the tune of N5 billion, a feat never thought possible in previous years.

Ishaq Oloyede

This raised suspicions about Mr. Ojerinde’s handling of the organization’s funds during his time as director of JAMB.

ICPC investigations subsequently traced many properties acquired in different states allegedly with funds diverted from NECO and JAMB to it.

PREMIUM TIMES reported in April 2020 how the ICPC seized billions of naira worth of assets allegedly linked to the proceeds of the alleged fraud.

The assets seized from him included schools, gas stations and houses located in different parts of Ilorin in Kwara state, Ibadan and Ogbomoso in Oyo state, Ile Ife in Osun state and Abuja.

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The ICPC had indicted him before the Federal High Court in Abuja in July 2021 on 18 counts related to the diversion of 5.2 billion naira in public funds during his time as registrar of the National Examination Council (NECO) to his time as CEO of JAMB.

He had contemplated reaching a plea deal. But this failed to materialize as talks on the subject quickly collapsed.

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