The demystification of ex NSITF boss, Ngozi Olejeme who embezzled over N69bn, acquired 48 houses

{SJ}When Ngozi Olejeme assumed her position as the chairman of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust-fund (NSITF), she must have thought that she has just been handed over the keys to nation’s vaults to do as she wished. Perhaps she also thought that as a top player in the nation’s political setting, she had assumed a ‘touch not my annointed’ position.

But how wrong the former chairman of the Board, Subsidy Re-Investment Programme, SURE-P was when all of her hopes, aspirations and expectations came crashing like a pack of badly arranged cards.

Olejeme while at NSITF between 2009 and 2015, rather than carry out her duties with utmost diligence and credibility, instead embarked on an illegal acquisition and embezzlement spree. She acquired more properties, each worth millions of naira, than she could possibly ever need and stuffed her bank account with as much money she could possibly lay her hands on.

With her obscene wealth acquisition, she commanded a lot of respect among her peers and seniors while she assumed the status of a god by those who benefited from the largesse she illegally acquired.

Her embezzled wealth not only bought her access and numerous awards, accolades and recognition, she began to nurse the aspiration to govern Delta State on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. Unfortunately, despite her ‘access and wealth,’ her aspiration to govern Delta State didn’t materialise, it remained just an aspiration.

But unknown to her, the beginning of her fall from her enviable position was only just a step away. After careful investigation and compilation of her illegal acts as the boss of NSITF, she was arrested by the anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

Following a bail application, Olojeme took to her heels and has been on the run since 2016. In September, 2017, the EFCC declared her and the then managing director of NSITF, Umar Munir Abubakar wanted for criminal conspiracy, abuse of office, diversion of public funds and money laundering. She was alleged to have, mismanaged and diverted over N69 billion, belonging to the federal government into their personal accounts through the award of spurious contracts to proxy companies.

At the outset of her trial, she had assumed that with her access and influence, she could escape justice. She was even said to have boasted that she was untouchable. But today, Olejeme has been stripped of the false identity she assumed via dipping her hands in the cookie jar.

On July 1st 2020, Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, ordered the interim forfeiture of 48 choice properties which Olejeme acquired.

The affected properties, 48 of them are spread across the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Bayelsa, Enugu, Edo and Delta states.

Some of the properties that were seized include a one-storey semi-detached residential building located at house/flat 86, 11 Crescent, Kado estate, Abuja; a fenced plot of land with C of O No. DTSR16326, located at plots 104 and 105, Block IV, Phase V, Core Area, Asaba, Delta state; Six units of one bedroom apartment; one unit of five bedroom bungalow; a block of six units of office space, all located at 196, Melford Okilo road, Amarata-Epie, Yenegoa, Bayelsa state.

Others include one duplex and four-bedroom residential building with swimming pool, gatehouse, fully furnished with state-of-the -art facilities, located at No. 25 Kainji Crescent, off Maitama, Abuja. This same property is also known as plot No. 738 Cadastral zone AO5, Maitama, Abuja; A storey building; two bungalows; printing press with printing equipment; a fenced empty land measuring 1422.765 square meters, located at km.9 Asaba-Benin Express road, Asaba, Delta state.

Another property is a twin duplex office building, located at Plot R/151 (No. 30A) Kingsway Road, Old GRA, Enugu State, registered at Enugu Land Registry.

The commission, through the application, also sought the interim forfeiture of two Duplexes with Boys’ Quarters, generator house, Gym and Car Park, located at No. 3D Opolo, Old Commissioner’s Quarters, Yenegoa, Bayelsa State; Ten plots of land, located at plot 7, 8, 11, 12, 16, 20, 23, and 24 Phase IV, Block 111, Core Area, Asaba, Delta state, with C of O No. DSTR1194; a two bedroom bungalow, located at No. 3 Ogwa Godspower avenue, Oshimili South LGA, Asaba, Delta State; a two bedroom bungalow, located at No. 11 Chiweta Street, off Ezenie Avenue, Asaba, Delta State, measuring 527.141 square meters; a two bedroom bungalow, located at James Odittah Street, Oshimili LGA, Asaba, Delta State, amongst many others.

Also seized from her is money deposited in about 30 bank accounts, each with at least 20 million naira.

The NSITF has since claimed ownership of the seized properties since they were acquired with money Olejeme embezzled from it while the government agency grappled with the difficulty of fully implementing employees’ compensation scheme due to paucity of funds occasioned by the fraudulent misappropriation of funds contributed by the Federal Government and private employers for the scheme.

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