The Abuja division of the Federal High Court, Abuja, yesterday granted an order of interim forfeiture in relation to 46 property, including houses and parcels of land, traced to a former Chairperson, Board of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), Mrs. Ngozi Juliet Olejeme.
Justice Taiwo Taiwo granted the order in a ruling on a motion ex-parte marked FHC/ABJ/CS/538/2020, brought by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and argued by Ekele Iheanacho.
Justice Taiwo, however, ordered the commission to publish the order in a national daily to enable anyone who is interested in the affected property to show cause within 14 days why the assets should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.
The judge then fixed July 27 as the return date.
The 46 property, listed in documents filed in court, were said to be located in Abuja, Bayelsa and Delta states.
In a supporting affidavit, the anti-corruption agency claimed that Olejeme acquired the said property with public funds she allegedly diverted while serving in the NSITF between 2009 and 2015.
One of the property is identified as 2, Kainji Crescent, off Lake Chad Crescent, Maitama, Abuja (also known as Plot 738 Cadatral Zone AO5, Maitama, Abuja, which the EFCC claimed she acquired in 2012 at N1.3 billion.
The EFCC alleged that Olejeme acquired the property using funds received as kickbacks from contractors through third parties.
It stated that “during Mrs. Olejeme’s tenure as aforestated, she collected a cumulative sum of USD $48, 485,127.00 from Chuka Eze (her Account Officer in First Bank Plc), Henry Sambo Ekhasomi (the Director of Finance of NSITF), Aliyu Zubairu (Director of Corporate Affairs -NSITF), Adebayo Aderibigbe and Abubakar Umar.
“The said sum of USD $48, 485,127.00 represents the dollar equivalent of kickbacks paid to BDC (bureau de change) by contractors/consultants of NSITF on Mrs. Olejeme’s instructions as well as payments to the BDC operators directly from NSITF account.
“The personal account of Mrs. Olejeme in First Bank Plc also received a total in-flow of N22, 200,000.00