The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC), on Thursday, arraigned a former Registrar of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Dibu Ojerinde, on charges of official corruption and abuse of office.
Mr Ojerinde, a professor, was arraigned at the Federal High Court in Abuja, alongside four of his children – Mary Ojerinde, Olumide Ojerinde, Adebayo Ojerinde and Oluwaseun Ojerinde – among other defendants.
The rest of the defendants are six companies linked to him, namely: Doyin Ogbohi Petroleum Limited, Cheng Marbles Limited, Sapati International Schools Limited, Trillium Learning Centre Limited, Standout Institutes Limited and Esli Perfect Security Printers Limited.
The case, marked FHC//ABJ/CR/119/2023, is the latest of the legal proceedings ICPC has, so far, filed against Mr Ojerinde over corruption allegations.
Multiple criminal cases
ICPC said in a statement capturing highlights of Thursday’s proceedings that its case against the former JAMB registrar involved “multiple layers of fraudulent identities and conspiracies designed by the defendants to conceal crimes.”
The statement was signed by ICPC’s spokesperson, Azuka Ogugua.
ICPC had arraigned him before another judge of the court, Obiora Egwuatu, in July 2021 on 18 counts involving the diversion of funds during his time as the registrar of NECO till his time as JAMB’s chief executive.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how ICPC opened its case in February after the breakdown of plea-bargain talks Mr Ojerinde had with the anti-graft agency.
The former JAMB Registrar is also standing trial at the Niger State High Court on alleged corruption and other ancillary offences.
ICPC had also secured a forfeiture order on some landed assets linked to Mr Ojerinde.
In the fresh 17 charges, ICPC, through its counsel, Ebenezer Shogunle, alleged that the former JAMB boss conspired with three of his children (Oluwaseun Ojerinde, Olumide Ojerinde, and Adebayo Ojerinde) to sell off property worth $150,000 after it had been forfeited to the federal government by a court order.
The property is located at House No. 4 Ahomko Drive, Achimota Phase 2, Accra, Ghana.
The prosecution also accused Mr Ojerinde of incorporating companies and taking up simultaneous appointments as Chairman and Director, while being a public officer on full-time appointment as Registrar/Chief Executive of National Examinations Council (NECO), Minna and the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Bwari, Abuja.
ICPC said this was despite that Mr Ojerinde knew “very well that the Code of Conduct for Public Officers forbids public officers from engaging in private business other than farming or participating in shareholding of joint stock companies”.
The commission also alleged that Mr Ojerinde, “in order to avoid various anti-corruption and anti-money laundering policies of government, notably Know Your Customer (KYC) and Bank Verification Number (BVN) policies, took measures to conceal his ownership and active participation in the management of some of these companies by using forged documents, stolen identities and synthetic names.”
According to ICPC, some of the alleged offences are contrary to and punishable under sections 17, 19, 22 and 24 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.
Some of the offences were also said to be contrary to, and punishable under Section 1 of the Advanced Fee Fraud Act, 2006.
The commission also said the rest of the alleged offences were contrary to and punishable under Section 1 of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, CAP M17 of the Revised Laws of the Federation, 2007.
The accused persons pleaded not guilty to all the charges when they were read to them.
The judge, Inyang Ekwo, granted bail to Mr Ojerinde on terms earlier granted to him by the Federal High Court, Abuja.
His four children were each admitted bail in the sum of N20,000,000 and a surety in like sums.
Each of their sureties must have landed properties not below the value of the bail sum and within the jurisdiction of the court.
The trial judge also ordered the other defendants to surrender their passports to the court and must not travel outside the country without recourse to the court. He ordered that the Nigeria Immigration Service be notified of the development.
The judge fixed 13, 14, 15, and 16 November for hearing.
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