Court orders Ngozi Olejeme’s remand in EFCC custody over alleged N70bn fraud

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Court orders Ngozi Olejeme’s remand in EFCC custody over alleged N70bn fraud

Justice Maryam Aliyu of a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory(FCT), Jabi, Abuja on Thursday ordered that a former chairperson of the Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund, NSITF, Ngozi Olejeme, be  remanded in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC).

The Judge gave the order after she was arraigned by the anti-graft agency on a 9-count charge bordering on alleged money laundering, diversion of public funds, to the tune of almost N70 billion.

After entering a plea of not guilty to the charges, her lawyer, Mr. Paul Erokoro (SAN), applied for bail on self recognisance or on liberal terms.

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The prosecuting counsel, Steve Odiase, did not oppose but insisted that she must be granted conditional bail, requiring that she presented a surety.

Erokoro submitted that his client should be granted bail on medical grounds.

He said, “The applicant has been diabetic and hypertensive for 30 years, she has had four major surgeries in the United States of America and South Africa.

“Four months ago, the applicant suffered a heart failure and last month she caught COVID-19 and she is still in the recovery process.

She will have a follow-up surgery, one of which is scheduled to hold next month in South Africa.”

Erokoro dismissed allegations that the applicant breached her administrative bail and escaped from the country.

He said, “She returned to Nigeria voluntarily when she was asked to do so, due to the charges by the complainant.

“She regularly visited the complainant’s offices and has reported regularly.

“In addition, she has never missed an appointment”.

Justice Aliyu adjourned till Friday, for ruling on the bail application and ordered that the defendant be kept in the custody of the EFCC.

Count three of the charge reads: “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) paid into the account of a company you have interest;

and used your position to confer unfair advantages 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 21° 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 committed an Offence Contrary to Section 19 and punishable under the same Section of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offence Act, S56. 2000.

Periscope International gathers that the total financial implication of the alleged fraud perpetrated by Olejeme for which the anti-graft agency is prosecuting her amounts to nearly seventy billion naira.

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