Abuja – Management of the Joint Admission and Matriculations Board (JAMB) has described as fluke, the story of the missing N36million from its state office in Makurdi, the Benue state capital.
The Board has however vowed to thoroughly investigate the matter with a view to bringing the officer in charge to justice.
Recall that an official in the Makurdi, office of JAMB had explained that proceeds from the sale of admission scratch cards in the state, totaling N36million have been swallowed from the cash vault by a mystery snake that comes in the night.
The staff in trying to exonerate herself from the crime, had explained that the mysterious snake sneaked into the account office and made away with the N36million cash a number of times.
The missing money was proceeds from candidates who had hitherto purchased scratch cards from JAMB state offices and other designated centers, to gain access to the Board’s website for either registration or to check their admission status.
In his reaction, Registrar and Chief Executive of the Board, Professor Ishaq Oloyede said no one will be spared in the course of unraveling all forms of corruption within the agency.
He said: “On the snake issue, management is working assiduously to arrest and hand over to the appropriate quarters, this “alleged snake” that swallowed governments’ N36 million and a host of others still in our system, there is no hiding place for any form of crime to thrive in the running of our activities.
“The Board will deploy all available resources to arrest and prosecute anyone found undermining the integrity of the Board, irrespective of who is involved.
“On assumption of duty I embarked on a tour of our state offices to ascertain their actual financial standing and their general operations.
“Some of the reforms introduced upon my assumption of office in 2016 included the decision to end the use of scratch cards, replacing it with more efficient and effective modes of e-Pin vending.
“The Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) candidates before now, purchased scratch cards from our offices nationwide and designated centres to gain access to our website for either registration or other essential services.
“It is in the process of the routine audit and other checks of state offices’ accounts and activities that an official in charge of revenue collection in the Benue State office of the Board was found wanting in her inability to give an accurate account of the proceeds realized from the sales of the cards.
“We are not going to take lightly our fight against corruption no matter who is involved.
“The Board is ready to arrest and prosecute any officer offering this alleged mysterious snake story as an alibi of how the money disappeared, just as we are going to bring to book any of our officers or stakeholders caught in any activities not in line with the Board’s policies.
“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.
“Another such case we uncovered recently was that of a state officer who also failed to give account of monies realized from the sales of similar scratch cards but rather claimed that he was on his way to Abuja from his state office to return unsold scratch cards when he was involved in a car crash and the car was burnt with the cards along with it.
“The Board will monitor with careful scrutiny, how entrusted staff handle government funds, as well as block all leakages and loopholes.
“The Board would not leave any stone unturned in its fight to stamp out corruption in its activities.
“In JAMB, we have nothing to hide. We run 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.”
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Author: Innocent Oweh