A Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja, was Wednesday told how the former Registrar of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Prof. Dibu Ojerinde, allegedly diverted N15 million from the board to set up a personal radio station in his hometown.
Prosecution witness, retired Air Commodore Najeem Sanusi, who testified before the trial judge, Justice Obiora Egwuata, of court 9, in the ongoing trial of Ojerinde, told the court that he was given bank drafts of N15 million on the directives of the defendant, to procure a radio license from the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).
Sanusi was brought before Justice Egwuata, to testify in a 10-count charge of official corruption and abuse of office brought against Ojerinde by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).
The witness further told the court that he was a co-owner of Ifelodun Communications limited with the former JAMB boss, who is a leader in their community in Oke-Ogun in Oyo State, with the one million shares of the company split into 500,000 units each for both of them.
Led in evidence by counsel to ICPC, Olubunmi Olugasa, Sanusi who was a former Provost Marshal of the Nigerian Air Force told the court how he approached the former JAMB boss with the proposal to set up a radio station having gotten approval from NBC.
He said, “In 2015 after retirement, I sought a license from the Federal Government. I obtained the form from NBC and went to brief our leader. He welcomed my noble idea. There and then, he called his lawyer, Peter Oyewole to come to his house for a meeting.
‘We agreed in the meeting held in his house that the name of the company should be Ifelodun Communications and we should go ahead and register the company with his name because that is the prerequisite for obtaining a license from NBC.
‘He asked that we should allot 500,000 shares to him and 500,000 to myself. The defendant then called Mr. Jimoh Olabisi who happened to be an accounting staff of JAMB and in a meeting in his house in Maitama, Abuja, he said that any matter related to financial issues should be directed to Mr. Jimoh. Subsequently, Jimoh gave me bank drafts of N15 million to pay NBC as part of the requirements for obtaining a license. I paid the draft to NBC, gave original documents to Jimoh Olabisi, and kept photocopies of the documents for my records.”
The witness further told the court that the radio station was set up in the personal house of the defendant in the Owode Area of Igboho, Oyo State, saying that station was located in a compound where his late mother also lived and an adjoining plot of land was purchased to accommodate the mast and antenna.
The court further heard how the witness introduced an equipment vendor but the defendant later used his son, Olumide Ojeriende, a serving member of the House of Representatives to procure studio equipment and mast for the radio station.
Documents that included photocopies of the agenda for the meeting held with the defendant to discuss proposals for the setting up of the radio station as well as bank drafts for the license paid to NBC were tendered before the court.
Counsel to Ojerinde, Ibrahim Ishiyaku, SAN, as opposed to the admissibility of the documents, arguing that the prosecution had not laid a proper foundation why the originals or certified true copies of the document could not be presented in court.
ICPC Counsel, Olugasa while citing Section 57 (c) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000, however, prayed the court to admit the documents arguing that they were personal copies of the witness bearing his signatures and records of all the transactions.
The trial judge, after listening to arguments from both parties, adjourned the matter to 7th and 8th June, 2022 for ruling on the admissibility of the documents and continuation of the hearing.