N36m Swallowed by Snake: Court Orders Remand of 3 JAMB Staff in EFCC’s Custody

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Alex Enumah in Abuja

A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on Friday ordered the remand of three staff of the Joint Matriculation and Admission Board (JAMB) in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), over their alleged complicity in the missing N36 million funds belonging to JAMB.

Justice Peter Affen of the Abuja court gave the order shortly after the trio were arraigned before him on an eight count charge by the anti-graft agency.

The three defendants, Yakubu Jekada, Samuel Sale Umoru and Philomina Chieshe, were arraigned before the court following their claims that the sum of N36m from proceeds of sale of e- facility cards entrusted to them was swallowed by a snake.

While eight charges were jointly slammed against Samuel Umoru and Philomina Chieshe, Yakubu Jekada on his part is facing a four count charge bordering on criminal breach of trust and dishonest misappropriation of public funds.

They however pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The court could not take a separate four count charge against another suspect related with the matter, due to the fact that the time was fast spent.

Prosecution counsel Ekene Iheanacho then urged the court to grant a short adjournment to enable the prosecution call its witnesses.  

Justice Afem said that since they were three separate charges, and Court had dealt with two of them, he would adjourn till Monday to take the remaining one. He therefore adjourned the matter to June 3.

Consequently, the judge ordered Samuel Sale Umoru and Philomina Chieshe to be remanded in the custody of the EFCC.

Parts of the eight count charge reads: That you, Philomina Chieshe, sometime in June 2016, in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, being legally bound to furnish the management of Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) information on the financial status of the JAMB between 2015 and 2016, stated that the sum of N36, 510, 500 being value of the shortfall of unremitted e-JAMB cards disappeared as a result of manipulation from the Kingdom of Darkness, which claim you knew to be false and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 139(a) of the Penal Code Law.

That you, Samuel Sale Umoru and Philomina Chieshe, sometime in June 2015, in Benue State within the jurisdiction of this honorable court while respectively being the State Coordinator and the Clerical Officer of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board Zonal Office, Makurdi, corruptly gave the sum of N48,500 (Forty Eight Thousand Five Hundred Naira) to Ibrahim Oba, a staff from Abuja Office of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), in order to forbear the said Ibrahim Oba from properly auditing the financial records of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board, Benue Zonal Office and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 17 (1) (b) and punishable under section 17(1) (c) of the Corrupt Practices and other related offences Act, 2000.

While the  four count charge against Yakubu Jekada read as follows: That you Yakubu Jekada between 2009 and 2016 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this court while being the State Coordinator of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) zonal office, Plateau State and in such capacity entrusted with dominion over certain properties to wit; 11,189 units of e- facility cards of JAMB committed criminal breach of trust in respect of the said properties when you disposed of the cards without duly rendering accounts of the disposals to JAMB and you thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 315 of the Panel Code Law.