By Fortune Eromosele – Abuja
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Thursday, arraigned former Chairman of Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund, NSITF, Ngozi Olejeme, before Justice Maryam Hassan Aliyu of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, Jabi.
Trial Justice Maryam Hassan Aliyu issued the order after a nine-count charge bordering on diversion of public funds, money laundering to the tune of N69 billion was read to the hearing of the court.
Count three of the charge reads: “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 Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) dishonesty 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 a confer unfair advantages upon the said company by receiving various payments from BOC’s 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.
Count four of the charge reads: “That you Dr (Mrs) Ngozi Olejenie 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 Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) received, benefit to do favour in the discharging 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 (NSITF) to Fountain Media Consults Ltd and Fountain Legal Services accounts as kickbacks and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 8(i) (b) (i) and punishable under Section 8(b) (ii) of | the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 200.”She pleaded not guilty when the charge was read. Her lawyer, Paul Erokoro (SAN), applied for bail on self recognisance or on liberal terms, which the prosecuting lawyer, Steve Odiase, did not oppose but insisted that she must be granted conditional bail, requiring that she presents a surety.
Olejeme’s councel, Erokoro explained the application for bail, saying that the applicant 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 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 that, “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, 22 October for ruling and ordered that the defendant be kept in the custody of the EFCC.