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EFCC arraigns ex-NSITF chief for alleged N1bn fraud

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Thursday arraigned the ex-Chairman of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), Ngozi Olojeme, at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) for alleged N1billion fraud.

The commission arraigned Olojeme on a nine-count charge of criminal conspiracy, abuse of office, diversion of public funds and money laundering.

The EFCC alleged that the former NSITF chief abused her position by fraudulently obtaining N1.384 billion and $48,485,127 while in office from 2009 to 2015.

The anti-graft agency claimed that Olojeme acting alongside a former Managing Director of the agency, Umar Munir Abubakar, diverted the funds into their personal accounts through the award of suspicious and bogus contracts to proxy companies.

The EFCC had earlier declared the defendant wanted after she breached her administrative bail and fled the country.

She later returned to the country to defend herself on the charges.

The offence, according to the EFCC, 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.

However, the defendant pleaded not guilty when the charges were read out to her.

READ ALSO: EFCC to arraign ex-NSITF chief for alleged N69bn fraud Thursday

Following her plea, the EFCC counsel, Steve Odiase, asked the court to pick a trial date.

The defence counsel, Paul Erokoro, informed the court of a pending bail application filed on October 18 and urged the court to grant his client bail on self-recognisance or in the alternative, in the most liberal terms.

The counsel said his client voluntarily returned to Nigeria when she heard that the prosecution wanted to question her.

He added that the bail application was predicated on medical grounds as the defendant has been diabetic and hypertensive for 30 years and has had four major surgeries in the United States and South Africa.

The prosecuting counsel did not oppose the bail application but urged the court to reject the request for bail on self-recognisance demanded by the defence counsel.

Justice Maryam Aliyu, thereafter, adjourned the case till Friday for ruling on the bail application and remanded the defendant in the EFCC custody.

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