A legal practitioner, Peter Oyewole, on Wednesday, February 9, testified against the former Registrar, Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Prof. Adedibu Ojerinde, in the Federal High Court, Abuja.
Oyewole told Justice Obiora Egwuatu that Ojerinde engaged him as his personal lawyer while serving as the chief executive of JAMB.
He stated this while being led in evidence by counsel to the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Ebenezer Shogunle.
The testimony followed a breakdown in the ex-JAMB registrar’s proposed plea bargain talks with the ICPC.
1st News reports that both the prosecution and defence lawyers had, on Tuesday, prayed the court to allow parties one more day to work out a possible plea bargain arrangement.
The judge then adjourned the matter until Wednesday for a report on the plea bargain.
However, at the mention of the case earlier today, lead prosecuting lawyer, Ebenezer Shogunle, told the court that the planned out-of-court settlement had failed.
“My lord, I regret to inform the court that there has been no plea bargain agreement in this matter.
“We have, therefore, resolved to proceed with the hearing. We have witnesses in court and ready to proceed,” Shogunle said.
Also, the lead defence lawyer, Ibrahim Ishaku, SAN, confirmed Shogunle’s statement.
“That is the position, my lord, and we are ready for trial,” he said.
While being led in evidence by Shogunle, the first prosecution witness (PW1), Oyewole, said he acted as Ojerinde’s personal lawyer; through his law firm, P. I. Oye and Associates, at a point, during which he aided him to incorporate companies and purchase property.
“I am a solicitor and an advocate. I was called to Bar on Sept. 30, 1999; and since then, I have been in practice.
“On or about April 25, 2020, I was served with order of this honourable court; ordering me to disclose the information in respect of certain property listed under my name.
“In compliance with the order of the court, I filed an affidavit of disclosure and a further affidavit.
“I also attended an interview with the officers of ICPC where I also made statement,” he said.
The witness said just recently, the officers of the ICPC informed him that certain information in his affidavit; and written statement had become the subject of a criminal charge before the court.
Shogunle thereafter tendered the witness’ statement and other documents as exhibits; and the court admitted them in evidence after it was not opposed by defence lawyer.
Justice Egwuatu adjourned the matter until April 4 and April 5 for continuation of trial.
The ICPC had, on July 8, 2021, arraigned the former JAMB Registrar on an 18-count charge; 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 Examination 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.