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Alleged Fraud: Court Grants Bail To Former NSITF Chairman, Ngozi Olejeme

Dr (Mrs) Ngozi Olejeme
Dr (Mrs) Ngozi Olejeme

October 22, (THEWILL) – Justice Maryam Hassan Aliyu of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) sitting at Jabi, Abuja, on Friday admitted former chairman of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) board, Mrs Ngozi Olejeme, to bail.

Olejeme was on Thursday arraigned before the court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on a nine-count charge bordering on abuse of office, mismanagement, giving false statement, taking kickback from contracts and diversion of NSITF funds into personal accounts and companies she had interest in, among others.

The anti-corruption commission, in one of the counts, alleged that Olejeme “dishonestly received the sum of N22,200,000” from a contractor with NSITF into her personal account.

She was also accused of receiving $48,485,127, which was dollars equivalent to some funds received from contractors as “kickback”, among others.

Olejeme was alleged to have committed the offence between 2012 and 2015 when she served as the NSITF board chairman.

The offence, according to EFCC, was contrary the provisions of sections 8, 19(1) (b) (1) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offence Act 2000 and Section 17, 39 (1) (2) of EFCC (Establishment) Act, 2004 and punishable under the same section.

In a ruling on Friday on the bail application filed by her counsel, Paul Erokoro, the judge adopted the conditions of the administrative bail earlier granted her by the anti-corruption commission in which she was asked to provide two sureties who must be assistant directors in government establishments.

In addition, the court ordered her to submit her travel documents to the court registrar.

The judge then adjourned the case till November 8 for commencement of trial.

While moving her bail application on Thursday, Erokoro had told the court that it was premised on health grounds, informing the court that the defendant had been diabetic and hypertensive for 30 years and has had four major surgeries in the United States and South Africa.

According to him, the defendant suffered heart failure four months ago and was infected with COVID-19 in September, adding that she had been scheduled for another follow-up surgery in South Africa in November.