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How JAMB ex-boss allegedly diverted N341.9m NECO fund, by witness

By Sodiq Omolaoye, Abuja
28 February 2022   |   3:00 am
A witness with the National Examination Council (NECO), Dr. Jimoh Olatunde, has revealed how a former Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB),

Dibu Ojerinde

A witness with the National Examination Council (NECO), Dr. Jimoh Olatunde, has revealed how a former Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Prof. Dibu Ojerinde, allegedly diverted N341.9 million from NECO to set up a personal printing press, school and buildings.

The witness, who testified before the High Court of Niger State, Minna, told the trial judge, Justice Abdullahi Mikailu, that N216, 297.443 was deceitfully withdrawn from NECO account for payment for 17 fictitious printing contracts, which was in actual sense, used for establishing the printing press.

Olatunde is the first witness to be brought before Justice Mikailu, in a 10-count charge of official corruption and abuse of office brought against Ojerinde by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC).

ICPC spokesperson, Azuka Ogugua, in a statement yesterday, said the witness, who was a Deputy Director and Head of Treasury at NECO said: “We follow due process for the award of the contracts strictly on paper but I am confirming to this court that I know what went on underneath despite perfection of all the documents and processes.

“Let me give you an instance, between 2004 and 2005, most printing contracts were awarded to these 17 companies owned by a friend of Prof. Dibu Ojerinde.”

He was the one in charge of all printing materials in NECO.

“He brought a handwritten bill of N246,914, 890 when he wanted to establish a printing press for Prof. Dibu Ojerinde and I was directed to pay 87.6 per cent, amounting to N216,297.443 only. We perfected all the documents through the award of fictitious contracts to the 17 companies.”

While being led in evidence by counsel to ICPC, Ebenezer Shogunle, the witness testified about the various property he acquired in Minna for Ojerinde using different fronts, including one Alhaji Muri Lamidi, and a fictitious address in Kontagora, Niger State.

Olatunde further listed before the court a multiple-storey building known as ‘Tejumola House’, Ojodu, Lagos, which was acquired in 2003 in the name of Doyin Ogbohi Industries Ltd from Intercontinental Bank for N27 million and Sapati International School, Ilorin, Kwara State, which was built at an initial contract sum of N98.6 million.

The witness, who took full responsibility for all the illegal withdrawal of funds from NECO being the Head of Treasury as at the time the alleged fraud took place, told the court that assets were acquired with stolen public funds.

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

Olatunde also tendered some documents to show that shares in some blue-chip companies acquired for the former JAMB boss were transferred to ‘Madiba’s Trust’, an entity created to consolidate.

While being cross-examined by counsel to the defendant, Ibrahim Ishyaku, SAN, the ICPC witness also tendered a list of 17 companies, which he said, were used to siphon funds from NECO to acquire some of the companies and assets for the benefit of the defendant.

The matter has been adjourned to March 7-8, 2022 for the continuation of hearing following a complaint of backache by the witness and further cross-examination by the defence counsel.