Dr. Ngozi Olojeme, the Deputy Chairman, Finance Committee of the Goodluck Jonathan Campaign Organisation in the 2015 presidential election, has been arrested by The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for allegedly siphoning funds worth N69Bn.
The widow to Felix Obuah, the late Chief Security Officer to Jonathan had served as the Chairman of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund from 2009 to 2015, and also the convener of the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme sub-committee on Public Works and Road Rehabilitation.
Olojeme who flew out of Nigeria soon after she was sacked by Muhammadu Buhari in 2015, has shown up at the EFCC headquarters on Monday, where she was detained.
The EFCC initially received a complaint stating that over N50bn from the Employee Compensation Scheme fund, and another N18bn being the contributions of the Federal Government as take-off grants to the NSITF, were being mismanaged by Dr Olojeme and Umar Abubakar, the Managing Director.
A team of detectives arranged by the EFCC looking into the company books and found discrepencies in the company’s accounts. They were able to trace the funds to the accounts of some fronts for Olojeme and the directors, consultants and contractors accounts who had received money from NSITF accounts.
The EFCC after interviewing some of contractors and consultants were able to make many return their funds.
A report by the EFCC states
“It was discovered that the NSITF accounts in First Bank of Nigeria and other banks have witnessed a total turnover of over N62,358,401,927 between 2012 and 2015 from the Employee Compensation Scheme contributions.
“That out of the N62bn, the Federal Government contributed N13,600,000,000 while the sum of N48,758,401,927.80 was contributed by the private sector. That there were several payments to individuals and companies from the NSITF bank accounts for purported contracts or consultancy services.
“That some individuals and companies that received these payments in turn transferred parts of the funds directly to the NSITF officials while others transferred huge sums to bureau de change operators who changed them to dollars.”
It adds, “That through this process, Dr. Ngozi Olojeme, the then NSITF board chairman, has collected a total sum of $48,485,127 from Mr. Chuka Eze (her account officer at FBN) whom she sent to contractors to cash the funds on behalf of a BDC operator
EFCC has, arraigned many of Olojeme’s associates, including Umar Abubakar, Henry Sambo, Adebayo Aderibigbe, Chief Richard Uche and Aderemi Adegboyega, before Justice Silvanus Orji of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, sitting in Apo, Abuja, on 26 counts bordering on conspiracy, abuse of office and illegal diversion of public funds.
All the defendants have pleaded not guilty to the charges and have been granted bail, the case adjourned until February 2018.
A detective at the commission stated, “After months of running, Mrs. Olojeme finally turned herself in. She is currently being detained and we have identified most of her properties.”
The NSITF, which was headed by Olojeme, is a social insurance scheme designed to provide compensation to employees who suffer from occupational accidents or diseases in the line of duty.
The organisation is funded by deducting one per cent from all government and private sector employees enrolled in the scheme.