Missing N35m: JAMB Officials Tried to Bribe Auditor as Judge Adjourn Matter to 2020
Fresh details have emerged as to how the duo of Samuel Saleh Umoru, chief accounting officer of the Makurdi Zonal Office of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB and Mrs Philomina Chieshe, a clerical officer in the same office, conspired to stop the Board’s auditor, Mallam Ibrahim Oba, from carrying out a financial audit of the zonal office with a bribe of N50,000.00 (Fifty Thousand Naira).
This was revealed by the first prosecution witness, Patrick Obilo who is also an auditor with the Board, as he appeared before Justice Peter Affen of the FCT High Court, Maitama, Abuja on Monday, September 30, 2019.
Umoru and Chieshe are first and second defendants respectively in a charge brought against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), over the disappearance of JAMB’s N35,000,000 (Thirty-five Million Naira) in its Makurdi Zonal Office, where both work.
During Obilo’s cross-examination by prosecution counsel, Ekele Iheanacho, he disclosed that Oba was sent to the Makurdi Office of JAMB in 2016 for a routine examination of the account books and consignment notes, which show quantities of items supplied such as e-facility cards-used to check and print results, change of course card, scratch cards, question and answer cards, receipts or tellers.
He revealed that during this procedure Chieshe visited Oba’s hotel room with an envelope containing a sum of N50,000 as “gift” from her boss, Umoru, and urged him to return to Abuja.
The auditor according to Obilo, sensed danger and returned to Abuja and reported the situation to the head of JAMB’s Audit Unit, James Ochijele, who ordered that the N50,000 “gift” be paid into the Board’s account.
Ochijele had to replace Oba with the witness (Obilo) for the same assignment in the Makurdi office. While examining the books of accounts in the Makurdi Office, Obilo said he discovered a shortfall in the proceeds from the sales of e-facility cards and change of course forms to the tune of N35,480,000, which were not remitted to the Board’s account.
Asked for explanation, Chieshe began to cry as she gave all manners of justifications for the disappearance of the money, including a tale that a mystery snake had been swallowing the money in Umoru’s office, even as it was kept in a safe.
In another incredible story, she claimed that a mermaid appeared to her in her bedroom to attack her at various times and that her house maid is a witch.
Real trouble started for Umoru and Chieshe with the coming on board of Professor Ishaq Oloyede as JAMB’s registrar, who set up a reconciliation committee to look into the accounts of all the state offices. This committee unearthed monumental stealing.
With no objections from counsel to the defendants, the prosecution tendered the report of the reconciliation committee and its summary, which Justice Affen admitted in evidence.
Under cross-examination by Mark Fees, counsel to Chieshe, Obilo said each of the e-facility cards, change of course forms and other cards are sold at N1000 per unit, disclosing that Umoru was the coordinator of the sales at that time in his capacity as the chief accounting officer of the Board’s Makurdi Office and had the record of every cards that were delivered to the office and the proceeds realised from the sales.
Responding to Chieshe’s claim that she made some payments into the Board’s account but has lost the tellers, the witness revealed that the bank statements which were traced for confirmation of the said payments did not establish any of such payments as claimed by the second defendant .
The trial judge adjourned the matter to January 21, 2020, for continuation trial.
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EFCC Grills Zamfara INEC Officials
The Sokoto Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC has arrested Hassan Sidi Aliyu, AdministrativeSecretary, Hussain Jafar Head of Operations, Abdullahi Yusuf Abubakar State Accountant and Abdulmumin Usman all of the Independent National a Electoral Commission,INEC in Zamfara state, for an alleged case of conspiracy, breach of trust and criminal diversion of Ad Hoc staff allowance to the tune of N84, 696,000 (Eighty Four Million, Six
Hundred and Ninety Six Thousand Naira).
The petitioner one Abdullahi Nasiru who wrote on behalf of all presiding officers that worked for INEC during the 2019 Presidential and Gubernatorial elections in Zamfara State, alleges that the Adhoc staff were denied payment of their N6,000 movement allowance each for the two elections.
He further alleged that what the Commission paid to them was different from what other states paid their Adhoc staff. The Commision allegedly paid its staff the
sum of N9000 (Nine Thousand Naira ) in Zamfara while other states like Sokoto State, the commission paid N12000 (Twelve Thousand Naira ).
Investigation by the EFCC revealed that none of the 10,500 presiding officers who participated in the elections were paid their entitlements commutatively put at N84, 696,000 (Eighty Four Million, Six Hundred and Ninety Six Thousand Naira).
Effort is being made by the Commission to recover the money criminally diverted by the 3 INEC heads of department and Electoral Officers of the 14
local governments in Zamfara State namely; Abdullahi Sambawa, Zurmi LGA; Aliyu Jafaru Goronyo, Maradun LGA; Balarabe Ahmed S Gobir, Gummi LGA; Amadu Ibrahim, Gusau LGA; Mohammed Bashir Musa, Kaura Namoda LGA; Dalhatu Usman Musa,Birnin Magaji LGA; Abdulmumin Usman, Maru LGA; Muhammad
Nasir Saidu, Talatu Mafara LGA; Abdullahi A. Ukashatu, Tsafe LGA; Tukur Garba Kaita, Bungudu LGA; Salihu Musa Abdullahi, Bukuyun LGA; Sadiq Abdullahi, Fari Anka LGA; Lawali Muhammed, Argungu Bakura LGA; Jafaru Gide, Shinkafi LGA; Tanimu Muhammad, Shinkafi LGA; Hassan Abdullahi,Shinkafi LGA.
The suspects would be arraigned in court as soon as investigation is completed.
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Report By: PRNigeria.com