As the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) continue to work tirelessly to correct the technical anomalies that have to characterize registration for the 2021 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) and Direct Entry (DE), over a dozen fraudsters have gained access to an intranet site of the exam body and altered profiles of the board’s ad hoc staff, diverting over N10 million meant for their allowances.
This was revealed by the JAMB Registrar, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede, who said the board uncovered the fraud after a careful investigation, which led to the arrest of one Sahabi Zubairu from Takum in Taraba State and several others.
The Jamb boss said the government policy requires that funds meant for ad hoc staff were paid directly into the accounts of the beneficiaries, a situation that gave room for the kind of challenge the board was facing.
Oloyede, however, berates the inability of the accounting department to detect the fraud by cross-checking the names on the accounts to ensure that they tallied with those listed on the website or owners of the codes.
He also noted that ad hoc staff of the board had since been paid, while assuring that the stolen money would be recovered. He vowed to hand perpetrators of the crime over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for further investigation and prosecution.
At least 10 of the suspects paraded before newsmen on Tuesday by JAMB in Bwari, Abuja, admitted committing the crime and said they were lured into it by Zubairu.
The suspected fraud syndicate somehow gained access into the site hosting the data of all JAMB ad hoc staff and changed their account details and phone numbers, diverting several million meant for the payment of their allowances.
Narrating how the crime was executed, the kingpin, Zubairu, said his friend, known as Samuel Tanko, who is now at large, introduced him to the website and supplied him with a code to apply as a JAMB ad hoc staff when they met at Saltee Cybercafé in Takum, where he lives.
He, however, noted that what he did was not an application but a successful alteration of the account details and phone numbers of the original owners of the code listed on the site, who were posted across the country by JAMB.
It was gathered that some victims of the fraud include a staff of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Mr. Babangida Mohammed, and one Fatima Mohammed, among others.
Zubairu confessed that he lured at least 12 persons into the crime, some of whom were his family members, adding that he received over N400,000 diverted into his account.