Ex-JAMB registrar Ojerinde’s plea bargain fails, ICPC proceeds with arraignment

Dibu Ojerinde

A Federal High Court in Abuja has fixed July 6 for the arraignment of former registrar, Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) Prof. Dibu Ojerinde for alleged N900 million fraud.

Justice Obiora Egwuatu fixed the date on Monday after counsel to the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Ebenezer Shogunle, disagreed with the terms of the plea bargain application which the defence counsel, P. Olorunnisola, had planned to file before the court.

The ICPC had on March 15 arrested Ojerinde in Abuja on allegations bordering on misappropriation of funds.

The commission alleged that Ojerinde committed multiple frauds while heading JAMB and the National Examination Council (NECO).

Ojerinde is the sole defendant in the case.

When the matter was called for arraignment, the defendant counsel Mr Olorunnisola told the court that arrangements were being made for a plea bargain.

A plea bargain is an arrangement between prosecutor and defendant whereby the defendant pleads guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for a more lenient sentence or an agreement to drop other charges.

However, Mr Shogunle, who had already been served with a copy of the process, disagreed with Olorunnisola’s submission, saying the commission was not in agreement with the terms in the application.

Citing an authority to back his submission, the senior lawyer argued that the application for a plea bargain before arraignment was in conformity with the provisions of the law.

Justice Egwuatu held that since the prosecution was not in agreement with the terms put forward by the defence, a written correspondence should be filed to the effect.

The judge then adjourned until July 6 for arraignment.