A Federal High Court in Abuja was on Wednesday told how a former Registrar of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Professor Lawrence Adedibu Ojerinde allegedly floated 8 companies, purchased three buildings and bank shares through his cronies while holding public office.
The companies, buildings, (two duplexes and a bungalow) and bank shares were said to have been acquired by Ojerinde when he held sway as Chief Executive of JAMB.
A witness of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC), Peter Iyiola Oyewole made the revelations while testifying for the anti-graft agency in a N5.2bn corruption charges against Ojerinde.
The witness who is a Legal Adviser to the ex-JAMB Registrar admitted that he incorporated the 8 companies and purchased the three houses for Ojerinde as his client on oral and written instructions.
The alleged companies are Oke-Afin Boys and Girls Hostel Limited, Sapati International School, Doyin Ogbohi Petroleum Limited, Cheng Marbles Limited, Standout Institute Limited, Trillion Learning Center Limited, Grace Petroleum Limited and Ifelodun Communications Limited.
Certificates of Incorporation for the companies and title documents of the three buildings allegedly purchased for the defendant in Abuja were tendered and admitted as exhibits by the court.
Led in evidence by ICPC counsel, Mr Ebenezer Sogunle, the witness who claimed to have been called to the Nigerian Bar in 1999 told Justice Obiora Egwuatu that the companies were floated in the names supplied him by the defendant.
He testified that Ojerinde was registered as Director in two of the companies while names of his cronies were used as Directors in the rest adding that he never met any of the cronies at the time he was using their names at the Corporate Affairs Commission.
The cronies used to register the companies are Ojerinde Dayo, Ojerinde Olumide, Awodayo Habib, Adeyanju Gbenga, Ojerinde Olutoyin, Ojerinde Akanbi, Ojerinde Adedayo, Olayiwola Ayanwale and Ibrahim Danmusa, Ojerinde Dibu, Sanusi Alade Najeem among others.
He said the receipts obtained in the course of transactions for the defendant were received and acknowledged in writing on behalf of the defendant by his son and a serving member of the House of Representatives, Honourable Olumide Ojerinde.
The witness who claimed to be an indigene of the same town, Igboho, as Ojerinde denied registering companies for the defendant to blackmail him adding that everything he did was on the instructions of the defendant.
To buttress his evidence, the witness tendered 12 letters exchanged between him and the defendant as well as 17 photocopies of bank drafts issued for his payment for the registration of the companies and the purchase of the three buildings.
He said photocopies of the bank drafts were delivered to him by one Dr Jimoh Olabisi, a former Director of Finance in JAMB and were admitted as exhibits.
The witness further told the court that Ojerinde acquired millions of shares at Osanta Mico-Finance Limited in addition to being a Director with the Bank at the time he was JAMB Registrar.
However, Ojerinde’s counsel, Ibrahim Ishyaku SAN, could not cross-examine the witness on the grounds that several documents tendered and admitted as exhibits were not part of the proof of evidence supplied him.
The senior lawyer applied for an adjournment to enable him obtain the documents and carefully study them.
Following the lack of objection from the ICPC counsel, Justice Obiora Egwuatu fixed April 4 and 5 for the continuation of trial.
The anti-graft agency had last year slammed 18-count criminal charges against Ojerinde bothering on alleged diversion of public funds to the tune of N5M.2B.