Court grants bail to ex-NSITF chair, Olejeme

Court grants bail to ex-NSITF chair, Olejeme

The High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in Jabi, Abuja, on Friday, granted bail to a former board chairperson of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), Ngozi Olejeme, who faces N1.4 billion fraud charges.

The News of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the court adjourned the matter till November 8 for hearing.

PREMIUM TIMES reported that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had on Thursday arraigned Ms Olejeme on nine counts of abuse of office and using her position to obtain over N1.4 billion and $48,485,127 as the chair of NSITF between 2012 and 2015.

She denied the charges when read to her.

Her lawyer, Paul Erokoro, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, subsequently notified the trial judge, Maryam Aliyu, of his client’s pending bail application.

Mr Erokoro pleaded with the court to grant her bail based on self-recognition or on liberal terms.

EFCC’s prosecuting counsel, Steve Odiase, did not oppose the bail application, but urged the court to refuse the grant of bail on self-recognition as suggested by the defence counsel.

Ruling on Friday, the judge adopted the same conditions of the administrative bail which the commission imposed on the defendant while investigating the case.

The conditions include presentation of two assistant directors in a government establishment as sureties.

In addition, the judge, Ms Hassan, directed that the travel documents of the defendant be submitted at the court’s registry.

Charges

Ms Olejeme is charged with criminal conspiracy, abuse of office, diversion of public funds and money laundering.

The offence it was alleged she committed between 2012 and 2015, when she was the board chairperson of the NSITF.

The nine-count charge includes alleged mismanagement, giving false statement, taking kickback from contracts and diversion of NSITF funds into personal accounts and companies she had interest in.

In one of the charges, Ms Olejeme was accused of dishonestly receiving the sum of N350million paid into Able Jes Nigeria Limited, a company she was said to have interest in, and used her position to confer unfair advantage upon the said company by receiving various payments from BDCs.

ALSO READ: EFCC arraigns ex-NSITF boss, Olejeme, for alleged N1.4 billion fraud

She allegedly committed the offence while being the chairperson of the NSITF sometime between 2012 and 2015 in Abuja.

The offence, EFCC said, contravened the provisions of sections 8,19 (1) (b) (1), punishable under the Corrupt Practice & other Related Offence Act 2000 and Section 17, (1) (2), 39 of EFCC (Establishment) Act, 2004 and punishable under the same section.

She was also accused of receiving benefit to grant favour in the discharge of her official duties to (NSITF) by receiving N505 million sourced from the monies paid by NSTTF to Fountain Media Consults Ltd and Fountain Legal Services accounts as kickback.

She pleaded not guilty to all the nine counts on Thursday.

(NAN)

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