Patrick Obilo, a prosecution witness who is also an auditor with the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has recounted how the chief accounting officer of the Makurdi Zone of the board, Samuel Umoru and a clerical officer in the same office, Mrs Philomina Chieshe, attempted to bribe a JAMB auditor, Mallam Ibrahim Oba, with the sum of N50,000.
Patrick Obilo enlightened Justice Peter Affen of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, Maitama, Abuja, that the bribe was meant to prevent the auditor from carrying out a financial audit of the zonal officer Umoru and Chieshe who were first and second defendants respectively. They were brought in for a charge against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission over the disappearance of the sum of N35m belonging to JAMB.
During Obilo’s cross-examination, he disclosed that Oba was sent to the Makurdi office of JAMB in 2016 for a routine examination of the account books and the consignment notes, which showed large amount of items supplied such as the e-facility cards used to check and print results, change of course card, scratch cards, receipts or tellers and so on.
The EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, on Tuesday 1st of October confirmed that the witness revealed that while they were in Makurdi, Chieshe made a visit to the Oba’s hotel room with an envelope that contained the sum of N50,000 which was a gift from her boss Umoru and urged him to return to Abuja.
The auditor who sensed danger immediately reported the situation to the head of the JAMB’s Audit Unit, James Ochijele in Abuja and he, in turn, ordered that the N50,000 be paid into the board’s account.
Ochijele replaced Oba with Obilo for the same assignment which had been earlier assigned to him at the Makurdi office. While the account books were being examined in the Makurdi Office, Obilo said he discovered a budget deficit in the proceeds from the sales of e-facility cards and change of course forms to the tune of N35.4m which were not remitted to the board’s account.
After hearing from all parties involved, the trial judge adjourned the matter to January 21st 2020 for continuation of the trial.