- A Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered an interim forfeiture of 48 properties that allegedly belonged to ex-NSITF chairman Ngozi Olejeme
- Justice Taiwo Taiwo gave the interim forfeiture order for the properties spread across five states
- The EFCC had told the court that the properties were bought from proceeds of unlawful activities
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A Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the interim forfeiture of 48 properties reportedly owned by Ngozi Olejeme, the former chairman of Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Funds (NSITF), PR Nigeria reports.
Justice Taiwo Taiwo granted the forfeiture order on Wednesday, July 1, after the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) counsel's Ekele Iheanacho, was able to convince the court that the properties spread across five states including the FCT, Bayelsa, Enugu, Edo, and Delta were bought with proceeds of unlawful activities.
From 2009 to 2015, Olejeme served as the chairman of NSITF before becoming the treasurer of the Jonathan-Sambo Campaign Organisation during the 2015 election.
The former chairman's problems started back in 2016, when the EFCC received two petitions detailing allegations of multi-billion naira fraud against her, Umar Munir Abubakar, former managing director of NSITF, and bureau-de-change operators.
Olejeme and Abubakar were alleged to have mismanaged and diverted over N69 billion, belonging to the federal government into their personal accounts.
Though she had been on the run since 2016, it wasn't until September 2017 when EFCC declared her wanted for abuse of office, diversion of public funds, money laundering, and criminal conspiracy.
In a related development, Shamsudeen Bala, a son of the governor of Bauchi state, Bala Mohammed, has lost his bid to recover some of his properties forfeited to the federal government.
The governor's son had asked the Federal High Court in Abuja to set aside a ruling which ordered the temporary forfeiture of the properties following an application by the EFCC in 2017.
Similarly, the trial of the embattled senior Army officer, Major General Hakeem Otiki, continued as the Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered an interim forfeiture of $376, 120 (N136,155,440) traced to him.
The court granted the order following the application from the EFCC. The court directed the EFCC to publish the interim forfeiture order in a national daily so that anyone who claims the money belongs to him will be notified and appear before the court to defend his/her claim within 14 days.
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