Justice Obiora Egwuatu of a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has shifted the trial of the former Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Prof. Dibu Ojerinde to June 20, 2023.
The Judge adjourned the matter to enable the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) put its house in order on other witnesses it lined up to testify in the matter. The adjournment on Thursday followed an oral application by ICPC’s counsel, Ebenezer Shogunle.
When the matter came up, counsel to Ojerinde, Eteya Ogana, informed the court of a motion filed challenging Ojerinde’s re-arrest and seeking the court order for his release. He alleged that his client was re-arrested by ICPC without an arrest warrant.
However, Justice Egwuatu could not find the process in the court record as Ojerinde’s lawyer
admitted that the mistake emanated from them.
According to the council, “We erroneously used a wrong charge number in filing the motion. Instead of putting charge number: FHC/ABJ/CR/97/21 in the application, they erroneously wrote FHC/ABJ/CR/74/21 leading to a mixup in the filing”.
Responding, ICPC’s lawyer said even if the application was in the court file, it had been overtaken by event, adding that, there was another application filed by the defendant seeking his release before Justice Inyang Ekwo of the same court, where Ojerinde is also standing trial with his children.
Contrary to Ogana’s submission, the ICPC lawyer insisted that the commission had the warrant to effect Ojerinde’s re-arrest and prayed to the court for an adjournment to enable the commission to assemble the three remaining witnesses lined up to testify in the trial.
Four ICPC witnesses had already testified in the money laundering charge preferred against the former JAMB boss.
One of the witnesses is the late Dr Jimoh Olabisi, who died on April 16.
Olabisi said to be the key witness, was Ojerinde’s kinsman and trusted confidant, who served as the deputy director of Finance in JAMB while Ojerinde was in office.
ICPC had, on July 8, 2021, arraigned the former JAMB registrar on an 18-count charge bordering on diversion of public funds to the tune of N5 billion, an offence he allegedly committed during his tenure as registrar of the National Examinations Council (NECO) and JAMB.
Ojerinde pleaded not guilty to all the charges and was later admitted to bail in the sum of N200 million, but, operatives of the ICPC, in January this year, re-arrested him within the court premises shortly after the proceedings, upon the discovery of fresh facts.
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