BY Jesupemi Are
Jimoh Olabisi, former deputy director, Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), says Dibu Ojerinde, ex-JAMB registrar, used him to divert federal government funds.
Olabisi said this on Wednesday when he stood as a witness of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), at the federal high court, Abuja.
The ICPC arraigned Ojerinde on July 6, 2021, in a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CR/97/2021, on an 18-count charge bordering on alleged misappropriation of funds to the tune of N5.2 billion.
The commission alleged that the former registrar committed multiple frauds while heading JAMB and the National Examination Council (NECO).
Ojerinde pleaded not guilty to the allegations and was granted bail in the sum of N200 million.
Olabisi told the court on Wednesday, that he was in charge of opening accounts for JAMB and admitted to opening an account in the name of JAMB/J.O. Olabisi in a commercial bank on the instruction of Ojerinde.
He said it was through this account that funds were moved from the government’s coffers.
“The authority to open the account — the letter to the bank — was jointly signed by Ojerinde and the then director of finance and accounts (DFA), Mallam Umar Yakubu, with specific mandate that I should be the operator of that account,” NAN quoted him as saying.
“I explained in one of my appearances here that the account was opened following an agreement between the defendant (Ojerinde) and myself as a way of deviating from what we were using in National Examinations Council (NECO) to divert public funds.
“So, the defendant subsequently discussed the issue with the DFA, hence the letter.”
The witness said the account was opened without approval from Jonah Otunla, the then accountant-general of the federation.
“However, the registrar convinced the then DFA. He told him that he had gotten approval of the AGF who happens to come from the same zone with the defendant,” he said.
Olabisi also said Ojerinde owned a microfinance bank, Osanta Microfinance Bank Ltd, while serving in government.
He also admitted being a director at the bank.
“I was put there to ease the movement of government money to the bank. The defendant is the chairman, board of directors of the bank,” he said.
The witness also said the ex-JAMB registrar used his position to award contracts to his private companies through the Zenith Bank account number, 1012411301, of JAMB.
Obiora Egwuatu, the judge, adjourned the matter until Thursday for continuation of trial after a motion by Ebenezer Shogunle, the ICPC lawyer.