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Alleged N1bn Fraud: EFCC Arraigns Ex-NSITF Chairman, Olejeme

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Thursday arraigned a former Board Chairman of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), Dr Ngozi Olejeme, before Justice Maryam Aliyu of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, Jabi in Abuja.

Dr Olejeme was arraigned on nine counts bordering on criminal conspiracy, abuse of office, diversion of public funds and money laundering.

She was alleged to have abused her position to obtain over N1.384 billion and $48,485,127 while in office.

The offence, according to the EFCC, contravenes the provisions of Sections 8, 9 (1) (b) (1), punishable under the Corrupt Practice and Other Related Offence Act 2000 and Sections 17, (1) (2), 39 of EFCC (Establishment) Act, 2004 and punishable under the same section.

Count three of the charge read, “That you Dr. (Mrs.) Ngozi Olejeme being the former Board Chairman of Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), sometime between 2012 and 2015 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, while being entrusted with dominion over money belonging to the Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) dishonestly received the sum of N350,000,000.00 (Three Hundred and Fifty Million Naira), the sum was paid into Able Jes Nigeria Limited GT Bank Account No. 323277283110, a company you have interest and used your position to confer unfair advantage upon the said company by receiving various payments from BDCs; the sum of N20,670,000.00 (Twenty Million, Six Hundred and Seventy Naira) by one Hassan Kano, a BDC Operator on the 26th April, 2013; the sum of N236,350,000.00 (Two Hundred and Thirty Six Million, Three Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira) paid by one Musa Adamu, a BDC Operator on the 21st of April, 2013; the sum of N20,670,000.00 (Twenty Million, Six Hundred and Seventy Thousand Naira) paid by Mansur Abubakar, a BDC Operator on the 30th April, 2013; the sum of N16,160,000.00 (Sixteen Million, One Hundred and Sixty Thousand Naira paid by one Dauda Bullama on the 30th April, 2013; and the sum of N36,570,000.00 (Thirty Six Million, Five Hundred and Seventy Thousand Naira) paid by one Sauki, BDC Operator on the 8th of May, 2013 thereby committing an offence contrary to Section 19 and punishable under the same Section of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offence Act, 2000.”

Count four read, “That you Dr (Mrs) Ngozi Olejeme being the former Board Chairman of Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) sometimes between 2012 and 2015 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, while being entrusted with dominion over money belonging to the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) received benefit to doing a favour in the discharge of your official duties to (NSITF) by receiving the sum of N505,000,000.00 (Five Hundred and Five Million Naira) from Sir Adebayo Adebowale Aderibigbe which was sourced from the monies paid by (NSTTF) to Fountain Media Consults Ltd and Fountain Legal Services accounts as kickbacks and thereby committed an offence Contrary to Section 8(i) (b) (ii) and punishable under Section 8(D) (i) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.”

The defendant pleaded ‘not guilty’ when the counts were read to her. Upon her plea, counsel to the EFCC, Steve Odiase, asked for a trial date.

The defence counsel, Paul Erokoro, informed the court of a pending bail application which was filed on October 18 and urged the court to grant his client bail on self-recognisance or in the alternative, in the most liberal terms.

He informed the court that his client was not a flight risk as she voluntarily returned to Nigeria when she heard that the prosecution wanted to question her.

Erokoro further stated that the bail application was predicated on medical grounds as the defendant has been diabetic and hypertensive for 30 years, and has had four major surgeries in the U.S and South Africa.

He said the defendant’s recent medical report from Federal Medical Centre, Jabi revealed that she required close medical monitoring as her medical status could lead to a medical emergency.

The prosecuting counsel did not oppose the bail application but urged the court to refuse the grant of bail on self-recognisance as suggested by the defence counsel.

Justice Aliyu, thereafter, adjourned the case till Friday for ruling on the bail application and remanded the defendant in the custody of the EFCC.

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