Court orders interim forfeiture of 48 property linked to ex-NSTIF chair

Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednesday, ordered the interim forfeiture of 48 choice property, allegedly belonging to the former Chairman of Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Funds (NSITF), Dr. Ngozi Olejeme.

A press statement by the EFCC Head, Media and Publicity. Dele Oewale, Wednesday in Abuja, said the affected property are spread across Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Bayelsa, Enugu, Edo, and Delta states.

Dr. Olejeme who was also the Treasurer of the Jonathan-Sambo Campaign Organisation in 2015 has been on the run since 2016 and was in September, 2017, declared wanted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for criminal conspiracy, abuse of office, diversion of public funds and money laundering.

He said the former chairman of the Fund was alleged to have, along with the former Managing Director of NSITF, Mr. Umar Munir Abubakar, mismanaged and diverted over N69 billion, belonging to the federal government into their personal accounts through the award of spurious contracts to proxy companies.

The spokesperson said the forfeiture order was granted after Counsel to the EFCC, Ekele Iheanacho, convinced the court that the said properties were purchased with proceeds of crime, noting that Iheanacho buttressed his position with 14 exhibits, attached to his affidavit, filed on May 29, 2020.

He said in granting the application, Justice Taiwo ruled that the interim order should be published in a leading newspaper within seven days of receipt of the order and for any interested party to show cause within 14 days why the property should not be permanently forfeited to the federal government.

Oyewale, who said the case was adjourned till July 27, 2020, disclosed that trouble began for Olejeme, who was NSITF chairman from 2009 to 2015, when the EFCC received two petitions detailing multi-billion naira fraud allegations against her, Abubakar and some bureau-de-change operators in 2016.

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