New details have emerged on the missing N35 million allegedly swallowed by a snake at the office of Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB). It has come to light how Chief Accounting Officer of the Markurdi JAMB zonal office, Samuel Saleh Umoru and a Clerical Officer, Mrs. Philomina Chieshe connived to bribe JAMB Auditor with a sum of N50,000 in order to stop him from conducting a financial audit on the Makurdi zonal office.
This was made known by Patrick Obilo who is the Prosecution witness, as well as a JAMB Auditor, during a court hearing at the FCT High court, Maitama, Abuja which held on Monday, September 30,2019.
The first and second Defendants that is Umoru and Chieshe have been summoned before a High court over charges regarding their involvement in the disappearance of N35 million naira at the Makurdi zonal office. The prosecutors are Operatives of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC)
Cross-Examination by the Prosecution Counsel revealed that Oba who was on a routine audit assignment in Makurdi, that required him to check account records to indeed verify the payments of items supplied to the zonal office such as e-facility cards which are used to check and print results, scratch cards, change of course card, etc.
However, during Oba’s visit, the Clerical Officer, Chieshe paid Oba a visit in his hotel room with a sum of N50,000 carefully packaged in an envelope as a “gift” from her Boss, Samuel Saleh Umoru, urging him to return to Abuja.
The Auditor who immediately sensed something was up, returned to Abuja filing a full report of the situation to the head of JAMB’s Audit unit, James Ochijele. Ochijele asked that the ‘gift” be paid into the board account.
This prompted Ochijele’s decision to replace Oba with Obilo (the witness) and sent him to complete the assignment, Oba had started in the Makurdi zonal offence.
Obilo made a discovery of a shortfall of Proceed sales of e-facility cards and change of course forms to the tune of N35,480,000 which was not remitted to the Board’s account.
Chieshe burst into hot tears while trying to defend herself against the allegations levelled against her over the disappearance of the money. Recall she said a mysterious snake swallowed the money in Umoru’s office, despite the money being kept in a safe.
Chieshe claimed that she had lost the tellers of the payments she made into the Board’s accounts. However, the witness refuted her claims saying that the bank statements did not establish any of the said payments after tracing it
The trial Judge adjourned the matter to January 21, 2020, for continuation trial.