Alleged N5.2b fraud: Key witness in ex-JAMB Registrar, Ojerinde’s trial dies
The key witness in the alleged N5.2 billion fraud trial of former Registrar of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Prof Jibu Ojerinde, Dr. Jimoh Olabisi Olatunde, has died.Olatunde, said to be Ojerinde’s kinsman and trusted confidant, from Igboho in Oyo State, served as the Accountant/Deputy Director (Account) in JAMB while Ojerinde was in office.
It was gathered that Olatunde died early on Sunday at the National Hospital, Abuja where he had been on administration for an undisclosed ailment.
A senior official of the National Hospital confirmed his death but was silent on the cause of death.
The official said: “Yes he is dead. He is now in the morgue.”
The deceased was the key witness in Ojerinde’s prosecution before the Federal High Court in Abuja on and 18-count charge brought against him by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).
The ICPC accused him, in the ongoing trial before Justice Obiora Egwuatu of the Federal High Court in Abuja of, among others, diverting public funds estimated at about N5.2 billion while he was the head of the National Examination Council (NECO), and later JAMB.
Olatunde was also listed as a major witness in the fresh charge filed by the ICPC against Ojerinde and some members of his family, and on which they are scheduled to be arraigned on April 19 before Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja
In court documents filed by the ICPC’s prosecution team, led by Ebenezer Shogunle, it was alleged that during his tenures at NECO and JAMB, Ojerinde “procured Jimoh Olabisi Olatunde (aka ‘JAMB J. O. Olabisi,’ ‘Jamiu Olabisi,’ etc), his kinsman and trusted confidante, in a strategic position as an Accountant/Deputy Director (Finance) to use public funds to acquire various properties on his instruction and for his benefit.
“In voluntary statements under caution, written in the presence of his solicitor and by sworn affidavit, Olatunde admitted using his position as a public officer to confer corrupt advantage on the defendant by diverting public funds to finance the private business interests and acquisition of shares and other properties on the instruction and for the benefit of the defendant and members of his family.
“At the trial, the witness (Olatunde) will narrate how he diverted funds from NECO and JAMB to finance the private business interests and purchase of properties for the benefit of the defendant.”
Olatunde was said to have also provided funds with which companies were registered and several properties acquired allegedly for the benefit of Ojerinde.
In the fresh charge marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/119/23, the ex-JAMB boss and other defendants are accused on engaging in money laundering.
Listed as defendants in the charge include his three sons – Olumide Abiodun Ojerinde, Adedayo Ojerinde and Oluwaseun Adeniyi Ojerinde and a daughter- in- law, Mary Funmilola Ojerinde.
Others are: Doyin Ogbohi Petroleum Ltd, Cheng Marbles Ltd, Sapati International Schools Ltd, Trillium Learning Centre Ltd, Standout Institutes Ltd and Esli Perfect Security Printers Ltd, said to belong to the ex-JAMB Registrar.