The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has confirmed the quizzing of a Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) official, Philomina Chieshe, who claimed that N36 million realised from the sale of scratch cards was swallowed by a snake.
She was grilled alongside her coordinator in JAMB’s Makurdi office, Mr. Samuel Sale Umoru.
But the woman suspect was said to have recanted, saying Umoru actually collected the N36million from her.
Also, the commission has grilled the JAMB clerk in Nasarawa State, Tanko Labaran, who could not account for N23 million scratch cards and Yakubu Jakada, who is yet to explain the whereabouts of N20 million e-facilities cards sold in the Kano office.
Another officer from the Gombe office was grilled for failure to account for N20 million cards.
The details are contained in a fact-sheet compiled against the backdrop of agitations on what EFCC has done to the suspects.
Chieshe has been a guest of the EFCC since last year when an investigation was launched into the massive fraud in JAMB which preceded the incumbent Registrar, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede.
The fact-sheet indicated that Chieshe was first quizzed on February 16, 2017 and she made additional statements on April 7 and 13 2017, May 30, 2017 and June 28, 2017.
But, following a video clip showing where she said the N36 million was swallowed by a snake, Chieshe was being subjected to follow up investigation by EFCC detectives.
The document said: “Philomina Chieshe, the lady in the eye of the Naira eating snake storm in JAMB, has been singing before the EFCC. And, contrary to her claim before the leadership of the examination body that the N36 million proceed from sale of scratch cards were eaten up by a snake, Chieshe told operatives of the anti- graft agency that the money was collected piecemeal from her by her coordinator, Mr. Samuel Sale Umoru.
“In one of the statements she volunteered to the EFCC, Chieshe, who is a clerk in the Makurdi office of JAMB, revealed that the Coordinator usually asked her to withdraw proceeds of the sale of the Scratch Cards from her account in two new generation banks.
“This money I withdrew, the coordinator used it for the office and some time for himself.
“She claimed that she had been warning Umoru that it was improper to use the money for miscellaneous expenses in the office or for private purposes but he would not listen.
“She also claimed that Umoru was in the habit of drawing IOU from the proceeds of the sale of the cards without reimbursing her.
“Some of the withdrawals which she claimed were at the behest of the coordinator included the N340,000 withdrawn on May 5 and 26, 2014 with ATM card. She also disclosed that she used her ATM card to withdraw N120,000 for the coordinator between June 17 and 18, 2014.”
The document quoted her as saying: “He instructed me to withdraw N640,000, using my card between June 30, 2014 and July 7, 201.”
An EFCC source confirmed that “the investigating team had verified the withdrawals after a careful analysis of the statements of account of the suspect. Mr. Umoru had also been arrested and questioned about claims by Chieshe.
”Umoru did not deny the allegations. He was however released on administrative bail but had been reporting monthly to the anti- graft agency.
“The interesting aspect of the disclosure is that Chieshe’s statement was obtained long before the snake and Naira swallowing testimony became public knowledge. In all her statements before the EFCC, there was no mention of any episode of any snake and the disappearance of monies in her care.”
The fact-sheet listed other officials being probed as a JAMB clerk in Nasarawa State office, Tanko Labaran, who could not account for N23 million scratch cards and Yakubu Jakada who is yet to explain the whereabouts of N20 million e-facilities cards sold in Kano office.
The document added: “According to Labaran, he had an accident on his way from the head office with cards and the vehicle caught fire and was completely gutted. He had a police report to back the claim.
“Investigation so far indicates that the cards, which were supposedly destroyed in the accident, were used judging by evidence secured from the JAMB information database.
”The serial numbers of the cards and the telephone numbers of the users were captured by JAMB information system.”
“Another officer from the Gombe office has been quizzed for failure to account for N20m worth of cards. He claimed not to have received any cards, that his signature on the letter transferring the cards to him was forged. But the riddle which operatives of the EFCC are trying to crack is how it emerged that the affected cards were used in Gombe and adjourning towns.
“The officer in charge of the Kano office of the board, Yakubu Jakada, is also under investigation for being unable to account for e-facilities cards valued at N20 million sold through an agent in one of the banks. He had claimed that the cards were not sold, and showed sealed cartons of the supposed cards to auditors from the agency’s head office.
“But on close examination, it was discovered that the cartons had been tampered with and stuffed with cardboard papers cut to the size of e-facilities card.
“All the suspects have made useful statements and released on bail pending the conclusion of investigation by the EFCC.”