JAMB clerk who blamed snake for stealing N35.4m tried to bribe auditor

Chieshe and another JAMB official are on trial for fraud.

Philomina Chieshe [PM News]

When the accounts of JAMB's Benue State branch was audited in 2016, Chieshe could not account for the sum of N35,480,000 she had made for the agency from the sale of scratch cards.

When she was probed last year, she claimed it was her housemaid that colluded with another JAMB staff to "spiritually" steal the money from the vault in the accounts office with the help of a snake.

"She (housemaid) said that a mysterious snake sneaked into the house and swallowed the money in the vault," Chieshe had said.

She was eventually arraigned before a Federal Capital Territory High Court, Maitama in May 2019 alongside Samuel Umoru, the chief accounting officer of JAMB's Makurdi zonal office.

While testifying before the court on Monday, September 30, JAMB's auditor, Patrick Obilo, said Chieshe offered another JAMB auditor, Ibrahim Oba, the sum of N50,000 in the guise of a gift to stop him from auditing the accounts.

According to a report by PM News, Obilo told the court that Oba had first been sent to do a routine audit of the accounts.

However, Chieshe allegedly visited Oba's hotel room with an envelope containing a sum of N50,000 as a gift from Umoru, and urged him to return to Abuja.

Oba then returned to Abuja to report the bribe to the head of JAMB's audit unit, James Ochijele, who reassigned the case to Obilo, the prosecution's first witness.

During his audit, Obilo discovered that the total sum of N35,480,000 was not remitted to JAMB, with Chieshe failing to provide an explanation.

In his position as the zone's chief accounting officer at the time, Umoru was the coordinator of the sales whose proceeds were not remitted.

Justice Peter Affen adjourned the case till January 21, 2020.

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