A snake has been accused of swallowing N36M from JAMB office. This is the hardest case EFCC has to crack.
The biggest task before the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) at the moment isn’t how to bring Diezani Alison Madueke to justice or how to keep Chief Olisa Metuh on his feet so he can stand trial. The EFCC has to figure out how to grill a snake in Makurdi which has been accused of swallowing N36million of taxpayers’ money.
As though trying to establish cases of corruption against politically exposed persons isn’t difficult enough, the EFCC now has to look for a snake in the wild and drag the serpent before a Judge. There’s no school that teaches investigators how to get a serpent to start talking.
Snake in the office
An employee of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Madam Philomina Chiesha is certain that a mysterious snake unlocked the vault of her office in Makurdi and made away with the sum.
The background of the story is that JAMB dispatched auditors to all of its offices across Nigeria as it attempts to wind down the corrupt scratch card regime.
For while JAMB was selling scratch cards to candidates seeking admission into the nation’s universities, the agency couldn’t remit commensurate income into the federation account.
According to Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun, in 2017, JAMB remitted N5bn to government coffers with a promise to pay the balance of N3bn. In comparison, JAMB remitted N3million annually to the federation account in the preceding 40 years. Blame it on the snakes.
Madam Chiesha first blamed the snake for making away with the money. When that sounded hollow, she blamed her maid who she claimed connived with another lady called Joan Asen, to steal the money.
A spokesperson at JAMB, Fabian Benjamin, has disclosed that Chiesha has been suspended.
“She has been suspended and she is going through all other disciplinary procedures while investigation is ongoing on the matter. Her claim was that a snake came into the office and swallowed the N36m proceeds,” Punch quotes Benjamin as saying.
But beyond a suspension, Chiesha should be made to take investigators to this snake, explain how the snake got into her office and detail what led her into believing that the snake is the culprit.
Even snakes should be handed a fair hearing.
Apparently, under Prof Dibu Ojerinde who served as Registrar from 2012 to 2016, JAMB finances were laid bare for snakes to devour.
It is little wonder that JAMB was remitting next to nothing to Nigeria even though it was making so much money from selling forms and scratch cards.
It also says something about how JAMB was run when that much money is kept in an office. Whatever happened to keeping this money in a bank? Oh, there’s the answer. There’ll be a trail if someone planned on stealing. Better to keep the cash in an office vault for easy disbursement or sharing.
Hopefully, the new JAMB Registrar, Prof Ishaq Oloyede, sanitizes the place and makes the entire organization more accountable and transparent.
Storing money in offices just so it can be easily looted, isn’t peculiar to JAMB. Most government agencies and politicians operate this way. Money is stockpiled in offices in order to leave no digital footprints. So much for cashless policy.
This is hoping the EFCC gets this snake to start talking. Fat chance, you have to say.
Source: Pulse. Ng