Legal Nigeria

‘N900m fraud’: ICPC detains ex-JAMB Registrar

By Yusuf Alli, Abuja

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has detained a former Registrar and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Professor Dibu Ojerinde, for allegedly misappropriating N900 million.

Ojerinde, who was arrested on March 15, 2021, in Abuja by ICPC operatives, allegedly committed multiple cases of fraud while heading JAMB and the National Examination Council (NECO).

The alleged offences were perpetrated between 1999 and 2007 as well as 2008 and 2016.

The embattled ex-Registrar was alleged to have awarded contracts worth over N450 million beyond his approval threshold.

Most of the contractors could not be traced as at the time of his arrest.

But the ICPC has seized some choice assets traced to Ojerinde, who is an Emeritus Professor at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU).

A statement by the commission’s spokesperson Mrs. Azuka C. Ogugua, said Ojerinde had made useful statement.

Last night, a top source revealed how Ojerinde allegedly indulged in fraudulent deals.

A top source said the ex-Registrar was being questioned over allegations of multiple identities, abuse of office, theft, Advance Fee Fraud, money laundering, making false statements to public officials and tax evasion, among others.

The source said some choice assets of the ex-Registrar have been seized, following a court order.

The source claimed that investigation had “successfully linked the source of N1.7 billion used to acquire some of the properties to NECO and JAMB through a private solicitor based in Abuja.

“The solicitor admitted that he collected the funds on various dates from an accountant who served under Prof. Ojerinde in both agencies”.

Also, a Federal High Court in Minna, the Niger State capital, has given an order of restitution and forfeiture to the Federal Government of all the assets that were found to have been corruptly acquired with public funds for Ojerinde.

A document obtained last night confirmed the forfeiture, based on a court order.

Also, the ICPC yesterday re-arraigned Okoi Obono-Obla, a former Special Assistant to the President on Prosecution, for alleged N10.1 million fraud, in a Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court.

Obono-Obla, who was a former Chairman of the disbanded Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property (SPIP), was also charged with failure to honour ICPC invitation.—&client=ca-pub-5089981496810613&output=html&h=343&slotname=5364422452&adk=1394730730&adf=2980752351&×343&!3&btvi=1&fsb=1&xpc=n68o6E4bqR&p=https%3A//!/widget/be4020e2-f63d-4d37-83fb-c93bfcef3b16&type=widget&code=be4020e2-f63d-4d37-83fb-c93bfcef3b16&mode=smart3&token=be4020e2-f63d-4d37-83fb-c93bfcef3b16-1&

Also arraigned is Obono-Obla’s Senior Assistant, Special Duties (Protocol), Aliyu Ibrahim.

The former SPIP chairman was on January 22 arraigned before the court alongside Ibrahim and the Managing Director of ABR Global Petroleum Resources Limited, Daniel Omughele.

They were arraigned on a 10-court charge bordering on diversion of N19.9 million meant for furnishing the SPIP office.

The ICPC counsel, Olusola Bayeshea (SAN), informed the court of an application by the complainant, seeking the leave of the court to amend the charges against the defendants.

Justice Olukayode Adeniyi granted the application as prayed and discharged the third defendant.

When the amended charge was read to the two defendants, they pleaded not guilty.

The ICPC alleged that Obono-Obla and Ibrahim conspired and conferred unfair advantage on the second defendant by diverting N10.2 million.

The ant-graft agency alleged it was part of the N15.1 million meant for some contractors by the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) for furnishing SPIP offices into the account of ABR Global Petroleum Resources Ltd, where Ibrahim is a director and signatory to its account.

The agency said by this, the defendants committed an offence contrary to Section 26(1)(c) and punishable under Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.

The anti-graft agency also accused the former SPIP chairman of refusing to honour an invitation in July, 2018.

This, the ICPC said, is contrary to Section 28(1)(a) and punishable under Section 28(10) of the ICPC Act.

Justice Adeniyi adjourned the matter till May 24, May 26 and May 27 for hearing.