Missing N35m: JAMB Officials Tried to Bribe Auditor, Says Witness

A witness, Patrick Obilo has revealed how two Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) officials tried to prevent an auditor from carrying out a financial audit of JAMB Makurdi zonal office by offering him a bribe. Obilo told the court that the officials involved  – Samuel Saleh Umoru, Chief accounting officer of the Zonal Office and Mrs Philomina Chieshe, a clerical officer in the same office – conspired to bribe the Board’s auditor, Mallam Ibrahim Oba with N50,000. According to a statement by EFCC’s spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, Obilo is also an auditor with the Board and he disclosed this information when 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 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. He added that the auditor 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. The statement added further that when Mrs Chieshe was asked to explain why she offered the auditor a bride, she 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 housemaid is a witch.” The trial judge adjourned the matter to January 21, 2020, for continuation trial.


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