Olejeme’s Accomplice Transferred Over N100m Same Day We Spoke – Witness

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The trial of a former Chairman of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund, Ngozi Olejeme, continued on Monday before Justice Maryam Aliyu of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, Jabi, Abuja, with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission presenting its first witness.

Olejeme, who was first arraigned on October 21, is facing a nine-count charge bordering on criminal conspiracy, abuse of office, diversion of public funds and money laundering to the tune of N1.3bn.

The prosecuting counsel, Steve Odiase, presented the first prosecuting witness, Salihu Sadiq, a Bureau de Change operator, who narrated how he met Olejeme’s co-defendant, Henry Sambo, an employee of the NSITF.

Sadiq told the court that sometime in 2014 at First Bank, Abuja, Sambo approached him and requested foreign exchange.

“He transferred the money into my account the same day the transaction started and the transaction involved hundreds of millions in about eight to 10 tranches. He did not know my office, but he normally sent his driver for the transaction,” he stated.

Under cross-examination, the defence counsel, Paul Erokoro, SAN, asked the witness if he knew the defendant, and what the dollars were requested for but he explained that Sambo did not tell him the purpose.

Erokoro also asked whether the transaction followed the Central Bank of Nigeria guidelines for forex, warning that if it did not, he would report the transaction to authorities.

A statement by the EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, titled ‘EFCC presents first witness in alleged N1.3bn NSITF fraud’, further explained that Odiase told the court earlier that the prosecution had six witnesses who were expected to be in court to testify but because of the fire incident at Kubwa which involved some of their relatives, they couldn’t make it to court.

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He disclosed that out of the six, one was in court and two others were on their way.

He, therefore, requested a short adjournment to enable the prosecution to present the other witnesses.

Odiase said Aliyu adjourned the matter till November 29 for continuation of trial.

Punch editorial

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