Court orders interim forfeiture of 48 properties ‘linked to’ ex-NSITF chair

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A federal high court sitting in Abuja has ordered the interim forfeiture of 48 properties allegedly owned by Ngozi Olejeme, former chairman of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF).

Taiwo Taiwo, the judge, gave the order during the sitting on Wednesday.

The affected properties are located in the federal capital territory (FCT), Abuja, Bayelsa, Enugu, Edo and Delta states.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had declared Olejeme wanted in September 2017 over allegations of “criminal conspiracy, abuse of office, diversion of public funds and money laundering”.

She was “alleged to have, along with Mr Umar Munir Abubakar, the former Managing Director of NSITF, mismanaged and diverted well over N69billion government funds into their personal accounts through the award of suspicious and bogus contracts to proxy companies”.

According to a statement by the EFCC on Wednesday, the forfeiture order was granted after Ekele Iheanacho, counsel to the commission, proved to the court that the affected properties were purchased with proceeds of crime.

“He buttressed his position with 14 exhibits attached to his affidavit, filed on May 29, 2020,” it read.

“In granting the application, Justice Taiwo ruled that the interim order should be published in a leading newspaper within seven days of receipt of the order, and for any interested party to show cause within 14 days as to why the properties should not be permanently forfeited to the federal government.”

The matter was thereafter adjourned till July 27, 2020.

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