EFCC presents first witness against former NSITF Boss over alleged N3 billion fraud

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EFCC presents first witness against former NSITF Boss over alleged N3 billion fraud

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday, presented the first prosecution witness, Malam Salihu Dantsoho Sadiq, in the trial of former Chairman of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), Ngozi Olejeme over the alleged N3 billion money laundering criminal charges.

At the proceedings, during the trial of the former NSITF Boss, before Justice Maryam Hassan of the FCT High Court Jabi, the PW-1 in his evidence denied knowing or ever transacting any direct business with the accused person.

The witness, who claimed to be a Bureau De Change operator, admitted transacting business in relation to the NSITF through one Henry Sambo for purchase of foreign exchange.

Led in evidence by EFCC counsel, Steve Odiase, the witness informed the court that the transactions involved millions of naira and that the transaction was held between 2014 and 2015.

He said that he was invited in 2015 by EFCC in relation to the transactions and made a useful statement in respect of the matter.

Under cross-examination by Mr Paul Erokoro SAN, who stood in for the defendant, the witness said all the transactions he carried out followed due process of the law and guidelines of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The witness said: “I found nothing suspicious in all the transactions and I would have reported to EFCC if I had noticed anything suspicious.”

Meanwhile, EFCC said it had over 78 witnesses to testify against the ex-NSITF boss, but said, however, it wished to scale down the numbers billed to testify against Olejeme.

EFCC through its counsel, Mr Steve Odiase, told the court that the anti-graft agency had reviewed the case against Olejeme and found that 78 witnesses were too many and sought to scale them down.

Odiase said only vital and critical witnesses would be needed and that the commission would come up with an appreciable number of witnesses to testify against the accused person.

He said: “My Lord, we had earlier informed this Honourable court of intention to call 78 witnesses to give evidence in this trial. But we have decided to scale down the witnesses because it is not how many that matters but how well.

“We will soon come up with an appreciable number of witnesses because we can’t go ahead with 78 witnesses and I urge my Lord to allow us to put our house in order before the adjourned date.”

After the witness was discharged from the witness box, Justice Maryam Hassan Aliyu fixed 29 November 2021, for the further trial of the defendant.

It will be recalled that Olejeme, who was an aide to former President Goodluck Jonathan, was arraigned before the court on 21 October on a nine-count charge bordering on abuse of office, receiving bribes, and awarding contracts without due process, among others.

Shortly after the arraignment, Justice Aliyu adopted the conditions attached to the administrative bail earlier granted Olejeme by the prosecuting agency, EFCC, in 2017 to admit her to bail.

The conditions include that the defendant produces two Deputy Directors in government employment to stand as her sureties.

In one of the counts, Olejeme was alleged to have “dishonestly received the sum of N22,200,000.00” from a contractor with NSITF, paid into her personal account.

She was also accused of receiving $48,485,127.00, which was dollars equivalent to some funds received from contractors as “kickback.”

Some counts in the charge read: “That you Dr (Mrs) Ngozi Olejenie being the former Board Chairman of Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund, sometimes between 2012 and 2015 in Abuja, while being entrusted with dominion over money belonging to the Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), received benefit to do a 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, 2000.

“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, while being entrusted with dominion over money belonging to the Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund, NSITF, received benefit to do a favour in the discharging of your official duties to NSITF, received the sum of N346,100,000.00 (three hundred and forty-three million, one hundred thousand naira) from one Mr Max Ozoaka of Excellex Solicitors 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, 2000.

“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, while being entrusted with dominion over money belonging to the Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund, NSITF, received benefit to do a favour in the discharging of your official duties to NSITF, received the sum of N87,720,000.00 (eighty-seven million, seven hundred and twenty thousand naira) through Mr Aliyu Zubairu of, NSITF, paid by one Mr Anselem Okolo of Journalism.com 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, 2000″.

EFCC presents first witness against former NSITF Boss over alleged N3 billion fraud

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