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Ex-NSITF chairman allegedly paid contractors over N60b for jobs not executed

‘46 properties seized from ex-NSITF Chairman’

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The management of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) has applied to a Federal High Court in Abuja to take possession of 46 properties, including houses and parcels of land in Bayelsa, Delta and Edo states as well as Abuja, seized from the agency’s ex-Chairman Ngozi Olejeme.

It accused the former management board chairman of authorising over N60 billion to be transferred from the agency’s accounts for contracts that were not executed.

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Following an ex parte application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on July 1, Justice Taiwo Taiwo, had granted an order for temporary forfeiture of the properties.

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The judge directed the EFCC to publish the order in a national daily to enable anyone who is interested in the affected properties to show cause, within 14 days, why the assets should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.

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Among those who responded to the EFCC publication, when the case came up on July 27, was NSITF’s management, whose lawyer, Okereke Ezechi, filed a motion urging the court to pass the properties to NSITF, should they be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.

The agency claimed to be the principal victim of the alleged crimes Olejeme committed while serving as chairman its management board between 2009 and 2015.

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It averred that the properties, 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 N62 billon was received during Olejeme’s tenure, but was allegedly diverted trough phoney contracts.

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Part of the affidavit reads: “NSITF received N62 billion 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.

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“Some of the contractors/consultants, who were awarded contracts and consultancy services running into billions of naira and never executed them but fully paid for by the NSITF under strict instructions from Ngozi Olejeme, are: Excellent Solicitors and Consultants, who was paid over N1 billion 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 Limited, among others…”

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