The Yobe State Coordinator of the Joint Admission Matriculation Board, Sanusi Atose, has blamed the ongoing Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria’s North-East for his inability to account for N613,000 belonging to the board.
JAMB had summoned Mr. Atose to Abuja to appear before an administrative panel led by Registrar Ishaq Oloyede to explain the disappearance of the cash after he received registration scratch cards of that amount.
But in his explanation, the official, according to details of the session exclusively obtained by PREMIUM TIMES, claimed an alleged Boko Haram attack in Yobe State left him unable to account for the money.
Mr. Atose said tellers, receipts and invoices were destroyed in the attack, which he said left him with no documentation for the transaction.
Mr. Oloyede, a professor, however, dismissed Mr. Atose’s claim as another disingenuous cover-up for fraud.
“Kindly go and pay government money within one week, else you will be in trouble,” the registrar told Mr. Atose.
Also appearing before the panel, Daniel Agbor, who is the Kogi State coordinator of JAMB, said he spent N7 million his office could not account for on assisting other workers in his office, who he said were ravaged by poverty.
He also claimed that some of the cards sent to the state were stolen by unknown persons.
“The state of the state offices is such that we are in poverty and money is there with us,” the coordinator told the panel.
“You need the grace of God in the state offices not to steal money because money is tempting. We borrowed the money and I am not the only one, I will provide the list of everyone involved in the fraud,” Mr Agbor said.
“To err is human, to forgive is divine, please don’t take me to the police, please be lenient with me, sir,” he pleaded.
“If you hear that I have given up in the police cell, will you say I am sorry? I just gave birth to my first issue. Most of us are on loan, my salary is N175, 000, but when they deduct my loans, my salary remains N90,000, which is not enough for me so I borrowed from the government purse,” Mr. Agbor said.
Mr. Agbor told the panel that he paid N265,000 into an account allegedly on the instruction of the former registrar of the board.
“I was informed of missing scratch cards, but security personnel, the police and civil defence, invaded the office, retrieved the cards and they paid some money back. I informed the former registrar and he directed me to send the money to an account, which I did. I later learnt the money was transferred to the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence. So that one was not calculated at all,” he said.
But the panel told Mr. Agbor his defence was untenable.
“I will give you one week from today as we speak,” Mr. Oloyede told the coordinator. “I want to see you pay everything in your custody, else I will hand you over to the police.
“Deduct the N265, 000 from the N7 million, then give us the account in which the former registrar gave you to send the money to.”
JAMB became a subject of intense media scrutiny this week following reports that an official at its Makurdi, Benue State office, Philomena Chieshe, claimed a snake swallowed N36 million government cash in her custody.
Since the revelation, more stranger-than-fiction claims by JAMB officials, accused of fraud, have emerged.
On Wednesday, Premium Times reported that the state coordinator of the board in Nasarawa State, Labaran Tanko, claimed that scratch cards worth N23 million were destroyed when his car caught fire.
The bizarre claims were made before an investigative panel set up by JAMB following the discovery of widespread fraud in its state offices.
The fraud involved the sale of scratch cards to candidates for admission to tertiary institutions in Nigeria. JAMB was set up in 1978 to coordinate and streamline admission into undergraduate courses in tertiary institutions in the country.
Before Mr. Oloyede’s tenure as registrar, candidates purchased scratch cards at JAMB’s state offices and other designated