How officials forged students’ signature to steal scholarship funds

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A prosecutìon witness, Abdulkareem Ismail, on Wednesday narrated how officials of the Kwara State Scholarship Board forged the signatures of students to steal their bursary allowance.

The witness, a former President of the National Association of Kwara State Students, Sokoto State Polytechnic chapter, was testifying before an Ilorin High Court in Ilorin in a N50 million fraud case instituted against the board’s officials.

It would be recalled that the Ilorin Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission ( EFCC) had on 15th March, 2019, arraigned three officials on a seven-count charge.

Those on trial are the immediate past Chairperson of the board, Alhaja Fatimoh Yusuf, Executive Secretary, Fatai Lamidi and Accountant, Stephen Ajewole.

Ismail, the second prosecution witness, in his evidence, alleged that only 50 students of Sokoto State Polytechnic benefited from the bursary award from the board.

He said that the officials of the board had claimed that its list contained 326 students.

“My Lord, on that day, when the scholarship board officials arrived, it was during a strike. We did an headcount, less than 200 students were around and the board officials disqualified many people

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“They said that only 50 students were eligible to collect the bursary fund

“I was among the 50 persons that benefited from the bursary. They never asked us to append our signatures and I did not append my signature

“I was invited by the EFCC last year. I was shown the list of beneficiaries submitted by the board, but I discovered that there were many irregularities,” he said.

The witness stated further that “in the list shown to me at the EFCC office, 326 students were paid as claimed by the scholarship board, but the list was not a true reflection of what happened as only 50 students were paid

“The list submitted to the scholarship board officials prior to the payment contained more details of students bio data, but the one generated by the board was adjusted,” Ismail said.

The presiding judge, Justice Sikiru Oyinloye, adjourned the case till 23rd March for continuation of trial.

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