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A personal lawyer to former Registrar of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Professor Adedibu Ojerinde, Peter Iyiola Oyewole told a Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday how his client disguised the ownership of companies and properties he allegedly acquired with the N5.2bilion he is accused of diverting while in office.
Oyewole said Ojerinde disguised the ownership of the companies and property by listing his children, friends and associates as directors and shareholders of the companies.
The lawyer, who was testifying as the first prosecution witness in Ojerinde’s trial, said some of the properties were acquired in others’ names, while in some cases, the ex-JAMB boss altered his names.
In an instance, the ex-JAMB Registrar was identified as “Ojerinde Dibu,” as a director in one of the companies, while in another company, he was identified as “Ojerinde Akanbi.”
Some of his children and friends named as directors and shareholders in the companies are Ojerinde Dayo, Ojerinde Olumide, Ojerinde Olutoyin, Ojerinde Akanbi, Ojerinde Adedayo, Awobajo Habib, Adeyanju Gbenga, Olowodola Deinde, Ayanwale Olamide, Olayiwola Ayanwale and Ibrahim Dan Musa.
Led in evidence by Ebenezer Shogunle, a lawyer with the Independent Corrupt Practice and other related offences Commission (ICPC), Oyewole identified some of the companies as Oke Afin Boys and Girls Hostels Ltd; Sapatti International School; Doyin Ogboyi Petroleum Ltd; Cheng Marble Ltd; Stand Out Institutes; Trillion Learning Centres Ltd; Grace Petroleum Ltd and Ifelodun Communications Ltd.
Oyewole, who said he was called to Bar in 1999 and practised under the name: P. I. Oye and Associates, said he acted as Ojerinde’s personal lawyer at a point, during which he assisted him to incorporate the companies and purchased the properties mostly in Abuja.
He said his decision to testify in the case was in compliance with an earlier order of the court and in a bid to fault Ojerinde’s claim that he did not instruct him (the lawyer) to buy the said properties and register the companies.
“On or about 25 April, 2020 I was served with an order of this court ordering me to disclose the information in respect of certain properties listed under my name
“In compliance with the order of the court, I filed an affidavit of compliance and a further affidavit.
“I also, on an invitation, I attended an interview with officials of the ICPC, where I also made statements.
“Just recently, the officials of the ICPC informed me that certain information in my affidavits and written statements have become a subject of a criminal charge before this court. That is why I am here,” he said.
Oyewole told the court that he acted based on instructions from Ojerinde, including the houses he bought for the defendants, but in his (the lawyer’s) firm’s name.
“In 2008 the defendant resumed a new assignment in Abuja as the Registrar of JAMB after the expiration of his term as the Registrar of NECO.
“He came with two of his former staff at NECO to resume in Abuja and they needed houses. I bought two duplexes and a bungalow at EFAB Properties Ltd.
“The properties were still under construction. And so, I was instructed by the defendant to purchase in the name of my firm with a follow-up on the properties until their completion according to specification.
“On the instruction of the defendant, I gave the original title documents to the defendant’s son, Hon. Olumide Ojerinde (now a serving member of the House of Representative) on the 3rd of August 2012”
When taken through series of documents tendered as exhibits, Oyewole was made to identify some shareholders and directors of some of the companies.
The witness identified Ojerinde Olutoyin, Ojerinde Akanbi and Ojerinde Adedayo as directors/shareholders of Sapatti International School; Olayiwola Ayanwale and Ibrahim Dan Musa (Cheng Marble); Olayiwola Ayanwale and Ibrahim Dan Musa (Stand Out Institutes); Ojerinde Dibu and Sanusi Alade Najeem (Ifelodun Communications); Awobajo Habib and Adeyanju Gbenga (Grace Petroleum); Ojerinde Dayo and Ojerinde Olumide (Doyin Ogboyi Petroleum).
The witness denied knowing the owner of Osanta Micro Finance Bank, a popular community bank in the defendant’s home town, Igboho in Oyo State.
Oyewole, who said he is from the same town with the defendant, also denied knowing the owners of the bank and claimed that neither him not his companies has investment in the bank.
A moment later, the prosecuting lawyer handed the witness a document containing names of the bank’s shareholders and their allotted shares.
Oyewole read out names and the quantity of the shares associated with the names, some of which turned out to include three of his (the witness’) companies.
They are Artic Business Company, Enhanced Performance Ltd and P I Oye and Associates, with each company allotted 5million shares.
Ojerinde and a company – Dolaf Nig Ltd are also shareholders in the bank.
Earlier, at the mention of the case, Shogunle told the court that plea bargain talks between parties failed yesterday.
“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.
Lead defence lawyer, Ibrahim Isiyaku (SAN) confirmed the development and said: “That is the position, my lord, and we are ready for trial.”
At the conclusion of Oyewole’s testimony on Wednesday, Isiyaku applied for time to study the documents tendered by the prosecution, to enable him return to cross examine the witness.
Justice Obiora Egwuatu adjourned till April 4 and 5 for the continuation of trial.