Nahimah Ajikanle Nurudeen
The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has maintained that there is no hiding place for any form of crime to thrive in the running of the Board’s activities.
The Board in its reaction to the issue of a sales clerk, Philomina Chieshea who told the registrar and a team of auditors that a mystery snake swallowed N36million cash at the JAMB’s office in Makurdi, the Benue State capital said it would deploy all available resources to arrest and prosecute any one found undermining the integrity of the Board, irrespective of who is involved.
According to the JAMB Head of Media, Dr. Fabian Benjamin, the Prof. Ishaq Oloyede led management had on assumption of duty embarked on a tour of the Board’s state offices to ascertain their actual financial standing and their general operations.
He said some of the reforms introduced by Oloyede when he assumed office in 2016 included the recommendation of an end to the use of scratch cards, replacing it with more efficient and effective modes of pin vending.
He said, “The Unified Tertuary Matriculation Examination (UTME) candidates before now, purchased scratch cards from our offices nationwide and designated centres to gain access to the Board’s website for either registration or other essential services.
“It is in the process of the routine audit and other checks of state offices account and activities that an official incharge of the Benue state office of the Board was found wanting in an effort to give an accurate account of the proceeds realised from the sales of the cards.
“We are not going to take lightly our fight against corruption no matter who is involved. We are going to unravel, arrest and prosecute this alleged mysterious snake, just as we are going to bring to book any of our officers or stakeholders who is caught in any activities not in line with the Board’s policies.”
Benjamin noted that a number of persons have indeed been discovered to have misappropriated funds belonging to the Board and the one at hand currently is one of such numerous cases of misappropriation in the state offices.
He said another of such cases uncovered by the Oloyede management led team is that of a state officer who also failed to give account of monies realised from the sales of the card but rather claimed that he was on his way to return some unsold scratch cards when he was involved in a car crash and the car was burnt with the cards.
He said the officer had claimed that all the cards then got burnt in the process, just as he failed to account for those sold before the ban on the use of scratch cards.
The JAMB’s spokesperson said further, “We are out to carry careful scrutiny of government funds, as well as block all leakages and loopholes. The Board would not leave any stone unturn in its fight to stamp out corruption in its activities.
“We will not condone or hide any act of misconduct, no matter how uncomfortable or unpleasant it may be to the Board or any stakeholder. We have deployed machineries that fight corruption, infractions, and admission malpractice, financial misappropriation in a a total and comprehensive manner.”
“There will be no sacred cow, be it a staff of the Board or any stakeholder partnering with the Board. The fight against corruption by the Board has been given a boost by the recent visit by the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) Mr Ibrahim Magu.
Given the kind of commendation by Magu and the confidence reposed in the management of the Oloyede led Board, we would have no option than to continue to do more.”
Benjamin maintained that JAMB has nothing to hide as the it runs an open door system where the public must have an unfettered access to information, be it positive or negative, whether in the present or past.
He stated further, “The fact remains that the officer in question in our Benue office and many others found in similar situations in some other states had diverted the fund before the assumption of office of the current Registrar. But, be that as it may, management is working assiduously to arrest and hand over to the appropriate quarters, this “snake” that swallowed our N36 million and a host of others still in our system.”