The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Thursday, arraigned a former chairperson of the board of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), Ngozi Olejeme, for alleged 1.4 billion fraud.
EFCC’s spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, said in a statement that the defendant was arraigned before Maryam Aliyu of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, Jabi, Abuja.
She faces nine counts including abuse of office and using position to obtain over N1.4 billion and $48,485,127.
The EFCC said her offences contravened the provisions of sections 8, 9 (1) (b) (1), punishable under the Corrupt Practice and Other Related Offence Act 2000 and sections 17, (1) (2), 39 of EFCC (Establishment) Act, 2004 and punishable under the same section.
The defendant pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to her.
EFCC’s prosecuting counsel, Steve Odiase, then asked for a trial date.
The defence counsel, Paul Erokoro, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, informed the court of a pending bail application filed on behalf of his client on October 18.
He urged the court to grant his client bail on self-recognition or in the alternative, “in the most liberal terms.”
He informed the court that his client was not a flight risk as she voluntarily returned to Nigeria when she heard that the EFCC wanted to question her.
Mr Erokoro further said the bail application was predicated on medical grounds as the defendant had been diabetic and hypertensive for 30 years.
He added that she had had four major surgeries in the U.S. and South Africa.
Mr Erokoro also said the defendant’s recent medical report from Federal Medical Centre Jabi, Abuja, advised that she required close medical monitoring as her medical status could lead to a medical emergency.
The prosecuting counsel 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.
The judge adjourned till Friday, October 21, for ruling on the bail application and remanded the defendant in the custody of the EFCC.
In one of the charges, Mrs 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.
She allegedly committed the offence while being the chairperson of the NSITF sometimes between 2012 and 2015 in Abuja.
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.