A former Provost Marshal of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), Air Commodore Najeem Alade Sanusi (retd.), has told a Federal High Court in Abuja how a former Registrar of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Professor Adedibu Ojerinde, reneged on his promise to pay him N18 million from their joint venture.
According to the Nation Newspaper, Sanusi, who was testifying as the second prosecution witness in the trial of Ojerinde, told the court that they both set up a radio station, Gravity FM, under the management of Ifelodun Communication Limited.
Ojerinde is being tried on an 18-count charge by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC).
He is accused, among others, of diverting public funds estimated at over N5.2 billion.
Ifelodun Communication Limited is one of the companies the ICPC claimed Ojerinde established with funds diverted.
Lead in evidence by the prosecuting lawyer, Mrs. Bunmi Olugasa, Air Commodore Sanusi said after the station was established and it became functional, the defendant asked him to step aside for his son, Olu Ojerinde (a sitting member of the House of Representatives), to become the Managing Director (MD) while he (Ojerinde) assumed the position of the Chairman.
The witness said he was asked to remain a director and shareholder, an arrangement he accepted until there was an agreement that he should be paid N18 million for him to relinquish his shareholding and directorship.
On how they arrived at N18 million as his final payout, Sanusi said the Account Manager, Jimoh Olabisi (an ally of the defendant) did the estimation of what the investment was worth and arrived at N180 million, from which he (Sanusi) was to be paid 10 per cent, amounting to N18 million.
“It was agreed that I would be paid N18 million by the Chairman (the defendant). If I was paid, I was to relinquish my share capital and directorship,” he said.
The witness added that not only did the defendant renege on the agreement, he (Ojerinde) said he would no longer be able to pay such amount because he was no longer in office as the JAMB Registrar.
Sanusi said after he reported to their community association – Ifelodun Omo Igboho Organisation – Ojerinde paid him N1 million.
The witness also claimed that his signature was later forged on a board resolution, indicating that he had relinquished his directorship and investment, denied knowledge of the document and a Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) document.
While being cross-examined by the defence lawyer, Ibrahim Isiyaku (SAN), the witness said he acted as the Chairman/CEO of the radio station during the formation stage because Ojerinde was still in service and chose not to openly associate with the project.
Sanusi said he made efforts to get the defendant to honour his pledge, including reporting him to their community elders in Igboho.
The NAF chief said he took several steps to get Ojerinde to pay him the money but without success.
The trial resumes on October 17.