A star witness, Peter Oyewole, has testified before Federal High Court in Abuja on how a former Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB, Prof. ‘Dibu Ojerinde, allegedly floated eight companies, purchased three buildings and bank shares through his cronies while holding a public office.
The companies, two duplexes and a bungalow, and bank shares were said to have been acquired by Ojerinde when he was the chief executive of JAMB.
Oyewole, made the revelations while testifying for the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission in the N5.2bn corruption charges against Ojerinde.
The witness, who was a legal adviser to the ex-JAMB Registrar, admitted that he incorporated the eight companies and purchased the three houses for Ojerinde as his client on oral and written instructions.
The companies are Oke-Afin Boys and Girls Hostel Limited, Sapati International School, Doyin Ogbohi Petroleum Limited, Cheng Marbles Limited, Standout Institute Limited, Trillion Learning Centre Limited, Grace Petroleum Limited and Ifelodun Communications Limited.
The certificates of incorporation of the companies and the title documents of the three buildings allegedly purchased for the defendant in Abuja were tendered and admitted as exhibits by the court.
Oyewole, who was led in evidence by the ICPC counsel, Ebenezer Sogunle, claimed to have been called to the Nigerian Bar in 1999.
He told Justice Obiora Egwuatu that the companies were floated in the names supplied to him by the defendant.
Oyewole testified that Ojerinde was registered as a director in two of the companies, while 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, according to him, are Ojerinde Dayo, Ojerinde Olumide, Awodayo Habib, Adeyanju Gbenga, Ojerinde Olutoyin, Ojerinde Akanbi, Ojerinde Adedayo, Olayiwola Ayanwale, Ibrahim Danmusa and Sanusi Alade Najeem, among others.
Oyewole said the receipts obtained in the course of transactions for the defendant were received and acknowledged in writing on behalf of the ex-registrar by his son and a serving member of the House of Representatives, Olumide Ojerinde.
The witness, who claimed to be an indigene of the same town, Igboho, with 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 point, 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.
The 17 photocopies of the bank drafts allegedly delivered to him by one Dr Jimoh Olabisi, a former Director of Finance in JAMB, were admitted as exhibits.
The witness further told the court that Ojerinde acquired millions of shares in Osanta Microfinance Limited in addition to being a director in the firm 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 to him.
The lawyer applied for an adjournment to enable him to obtain the documents and carefully study them.
Due to no objection by the ICPC counsel, Justice Egwuatu fixed April 4 and 5 for the continuation of trial.
The anti-graft agency had last year slammed 18 charges against Ojerinde bordering on alleged diversion of public funds to the tune of N5.2bn.