NIGERIA- The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has launched into a probe of the cash inflow and outflow of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) between 2010 and 2016.
The anti-graft agency wants to get to the root of an alleged N8.7billion fraud in the board.
Fifteen suspects have already been shortlisted for trial.
Among them are some zonal heads and state coordinators. One of the suspects facing trial is a female accountant, Philomena Chise, whose sensational claim that a snake swallowed N36million raked in from the sales of e-facility cards rocked the nation.
Chise later told EFCC operatives that the said N36milion was disbursed as an I-Owe-You advance to cash-strapped staff.
The N8.7billion alleged fraud is said to have predated the present JAMB management, led by Prof. Ishaq Oloyede.
A document detailing the alleged fraud and sighted by The Nation says the large sum was revenue from sales of e-facility cards and change of course cards which ended in private pockets.
“The remittance of over N8billion by Oloyede to the Federal Government as revenue led to the Forensic Investigation of Financial Activities of JAMB between 2010 and 2016 by Faithpro Consulting Auditing Associate (Financial and Management Consultants),” it says.
“The forensic investigators came up with N8.7billion shortfall within the same period which the EFCC has been investigating. There are about 15 suspects who may face trial in the first batch.”
Some of the states where the fraud was detected include Benue, Nasarawa, Kano, Kogi, Plateau, Gombe, Yobe and Edo.
Some of the suspects under investigation, who may face trial include Chise and Sale Umar (Benue); Labaran Tanko (Nasarawa); Daniel Agbo (Kogi), Yakubu Jekada (Plateau), Patricia Ogunsola and Cyril Izireim Imoukhuede (Edo); Murtala Abdul (Gombe); Aliyu Yakubu (Kano) among others.
The report adds: “In Benue, out of the expected revenue of N124, 180,00 from e-facility cards, only N88,700,000 was remitted leaving a balance of N35.48million.
“The JAMB office in the state also received 10,210 change of course cards and instead of remitting N8, 025,000, about N7million was paid into the designated account. About N1,025,000 is missing till date.
“Although JAMB’s preliminary findings claimed that Chise confessed that a snake swallowed the N36m unremitted cash, she told the EFCC detectives that the shortfall was an I-Owe-You advance to cash-strapped staff that are yet to refund same.”
Employees in Yobe State claimed to have “lost sales records because of attacks on Damaturu by Boko Haram.”
The story is similar in Edo State “where N26,400,000 is missing. Out of the expected revenue from e-facility cards of about N123, 933,000, only N97,533,000 was paid into the relevant account.”
In Gombe, about N40, 004,000 sales revenue was realized but only N29, 073,000 was remitted leaving a balance of N10,269,000.”
“An officer in Kano, in his efforts to cover up for 20,000 unaccounted cards worth N20million, cut carbon papers in the form of e-facility cards and returned these cards as unused.”
The document revealed findings on Nasarawa State where an officer claimed to have lost over N24,037,000 cards in a road crash.
The document added: “Investigation revealed that Mr. Labaran Tanko was the JAMB State Coordinator of Lafia Office, Nasarawa State between 2011 and 2016.
“Investigation revealed that within the period of his tenure, Nasarawa State Office revealed a total of 24,882 e-facility cards out of which 24,037 were unsold while 845 were sold at the rate of N1,000 each. The expected revenue was N845,000 realized and remitted to JAMB.
“However he claimed that the remaining 23,147 cards got burnt in an accident he had along Lafia-Akwanga Expressway while 890 cards were missing.
“Meanwhile, contrary to his submission, forensic evidence obtained from the IT Unit of JAMB showed that the cards were sold and utilized by candidates within Nasarawa State and its environs.
“This forensic evidence showed the name, phone number and purpose for which the cards were used. The expected revenue from the claimed burnt/missing cards was N24,037,000. The revenue from the cards, which were actually sold and utilized based on forensic evidence, was never remitted to JAMB.
“Also investigation revealed that 2,000 CBT cards were supplied to Nasarawa State Office which were never sold. Rather, the State Coordinator claimed that the said 2,000 CBT cards were among the cards that got burnt in road accident along Lafia-Akwanga Expressway.
Contrary to the claim, investigation recovered forensic evidence which showed that the cards were actually not burnt but utilized by candidates within Nasarawa State and its environs. This forensic evidence further revealed the details of candidates hat used the cards, such as name, phone number and purpose for which the cards were used.
“Further investigation revealed that 4, 589 change of course cards were supplied to Nasarawa State Office of which they sold 1,426 at the rate of N2,500 each while 3, 163 cards were unused and same was remitted to JAMB. However, the State Coordinator claimed that the remaining 3,163 cards got burnt in the same road accident. Forensic evidence, however, proved otherwise.”