The management of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) has applied to a Federal High Court in Abuja seeking to be handed 46 property, including houses and parcels of land in Bayelsa, Delta and Edo states and Abuja seized from the agency’s ex-Chairman, Ngozi Olejeme.
Justice Taiwo Taiwo had, on July 1 this year, upon an ex-parte application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), granted an order for temporary forfeiture of the identified property.
Justice Taiwo directed the EFCC 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.
Among those who responded to the publication made by the EFCC when the case came up on July 27, 2020 was the NSITF’s management, whose lawyer, Okereke Ezechi, filed a motion, urging the court to pass the property to NSITF should they be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.
NSITF, claimed to be the principal victim of the alleged crimes purported committed by Olejeme,wh o served as the Chairman of the agency’s management board between 2009 to 2015.
It stated that the property suspected to have been acquired by Olejeme, through proceeds of crime, were allegedly acquired with funds stolen from NSITF.
The NSITF claimed, in a supporting affidavit, that N62billon was received during Olejeme’s tenure, but was allegedly diverted trough phoney contracts.
Part of the affidavit reads: “NSITF received N62b as grants and mandatory contributions from the Federal Government and the private sector employers for the implementation of the employees’ compensation scheme designed to provide fair and adequate compensation to employees who are victims of workplace or work related injuries.
“Within the tenure of Ngozi Olejeme as the Chairperson of the Management Board of the NSITF, several contracts/consultancy services were not executed, but heavily paid for.
“Some of the contractors/consultants, who were awarded contracts and consultancy services running into billions of naira and never executed them, but fully paid by the NSITF under strict instructions from Ngozi Olejeme, are Excellent Solicitors & Consultants, who was paid over N1billion under the guise of consultancy services which was never executed; Fountain Legal Services and Fountain Media Consults was paid N5,984,056,110.00; Hybrid Investment Advisors Ltd, etc.
“During the tenure of Ngozi Olejeme as Chairperson of the Management Board of the NSITF, over N60b was transferred out of the account of the NSITF with instruction and authorisation by Ngozi Olejeme under the guise of payment for contracts and consultancy services purportedly executed in total breach of procurement requirements.