A Federal High Court, Abuja on Thursday, adjourned the trial of former Registrar, Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Prof. Dibu Ojerinde, until June 20.
Justice Obiora Egwuatu adjourned the matter to enable the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) put its house in order on other witnesses lined up for the case.
The development followed an oral application for an adjournment by ICPC’s counsel, Ebenezer Shogunle.
Upon resumed hearing in the matter, Ojerinde’s lawyer, Eteya Ogana, told the court that a motion had been filed challenging the re-arrest of ex-JAMB boss and seeking the court order for his release.
He alleged that his client was re-arrested by the anti-corruption commission without an arrest warrant.
However, the judge could not find the process in the court record.
Ogana later admitted that the mistake emanated from them.
According to him, “we erroneously used a wrong charge number in filing the motion.”
The lawyer said 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, Shogunle said even if the application was in the court file, it had been overtaken by event.
Besides, he said there was another application filed by the defendant seeking for his release before a sister judge, Justice Inyang Ekwo, where Ojerinde is also standing trial alongside his children.
“I think we should wait for that decision,” he said.
Contrary to Ogana’s submission, the ICPC lawyer insisted that the commission had a warrant to effect Ojerinde’s re-arrest.
“I will want my lord to inspect that warrant leading to his re-arrest,” he said.
Shogunle, therefore, sought an adjournment to enable the commission assemble its witnesses for the trial.
He hinted that three witnesses were remaining to testify before the court.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that four witnesses had given their testimonies in the money laundering case, including 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.
NAN reports that the ICPC had, on July 8, 2021, arraigned the former JAMB registrar on 18 counts bordering on diversion of public funds to the tune of N5 billion.
He was said to have committed the offence during his tenure as registrar of the National Examinations Council (NECO) and JAMB.
Ojerinde, however, pleaded not guilty to all the charges and was later admitted to bail in the sum of N200 million.
But the ICPC operatives, on Jan 26, re-arrested him within the court premises shortly after the hearing.
His re-arrest was said to be connected to fresh facts emerging from his ongoing trial and made by the 4th prosecution witness, the late Olabisi.