A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in Jabi, Abuja has ordered that a former Chairman of the Board of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), Ngozi Olejeme be remanded in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Justice Maryam Hassan Aliyu issued the order on Thursday after Olejeme was arraigned on a nine-count charge in which she was accused of abusing her office, receiving bribe, awarding contracts without due process, among others
About N3billion is said to have been involved
In one of the counts, Olejeme was alleged to have “dishonestly received the sum of N22,200,000.00” from a contractor with NSITF into her personal account No. 32327505058110 in a new generation bank.
Olejeme was also accused of receiving $48,485,127.00, which was dollars equivalent of some funds received from contractors as “kickback.”
She pleaded not guilty when the charge was read following which the prosecuting lawyer, Steve Odiase sought a date for the commencement of trial.
The defence lawyer, Paul Erokoro (SAN) informed the court about his client’s bail application, which he proceeded to move. He urged the court to grant her bail either on self-recognition or on liberal terms.
Erokoro said the defendant returned to the country in 2017 on her own volition on hearing that she was being wanted for questioning by the EFCC.
He said she reported to the EFCC, questioned and was granted bail, adding that she has been reporting to the EFCC since then.
Erokoro assured that since the defendant has remained faithful to the bail granted her by the EFCC, she will be available for trial.
He added that the bail application was based on medical grounds, which include that she has been diabetic and hypertensive for 30 years.
Also she, in recent time, had four surgeries in the United States and South Africa.
Erokoro told the court that the defendant suffered heart failure four months ago and contracted COVID-19 but recovering from it.
He said the defendant is scheduled for one follow-up surgery next month in South Africa, and that his client would apply for permission to travel for that purpose.
Odiase said he was no opposed to the defendant being granted bail but would prefer that she be granted conditional bail, requiring that she produced a surety pending the conclusion of the trial.
Ruling, Justice Aliyu adjourned till Friday for ruling on the bail application and ordered that the defendant be kept in the custody of the EFCC.
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