The Federal Government, through the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC), has charged a former Registrar of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Professor Lawrence Adedibu Ojerinde, before the Federal High Court in Abuja for his alleged complicity in the diversion of public funds estimated at over N5.2 billion.
Ojerinde is accused, in the 18-count charge in which he is the only defendant, of diversion, making false statement, among others, between 2003, when he was the Registrar of the National Examination Council (NECO), and 2021.
His planned arraignment yesterday was stalled due to the request by his lawyer, P. A. O. Olorunishola (SAN), for time to enable the parties conclude the current process for plea bargain.
At the mention of the case, Ojerinde, who was seated in the court, was ushered into the dock, while the prosecuting lawyer, Ebenezer Shogunle, asked that the defendant’s plea be taken on the already filed charge.
Olorunishola objected, arguing that since parties were working on a plea bargain arrangement, the court should suspend the arraignment, pending when the process would be concluded.
He cited the provision of Section 270(4) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) to pray the court to delay the arraignment until the ICPC responded to his client’s plea bargain proposal.
Although Shogunle insisted that his agency was not well disposed to the defendant’s proposal, Justice Justice Obiora Egwuatu directed the prosecution to file a formal response to the defendant’s proposal, as requested by Olorunishola.
Justice Egwuatu adjourned till July 6 for arraignment.