Justice Maryam Hassan Aliyu of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, Jabi Abuja, on Tuesday, December 14, 2021, refused an application filed by a former Chairman of Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), Dr. Ngozi Olejeme to proceed on an urgent trip abroad for medicals.
Olejeme was arraigned on October 21, 2021, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for allegedly abusing her position to obtain over One Billion, Three Hundred and Eighty-four Million, Ten Thousand Naira (N1,384,010,000), and Forty-eight Million, Four Hundred and Eighty Thousand, One Hundred and Twenty-seven United State Dollars ($48,485,127.00).
The offence contravenes the provisions of Sections 8, 9 (1) (b) (1), punishable under the Corrupt Practice and Other Related Offence Act 2000 and Sections 17, (1) (2), 39 of EFCC (Establishment) Act, 2004 and punishable under the same section.
At the last sitting, the EFCC through its counsel, Sir Steve Odiase, had informed the court that Olejeme is a flight risk who could use the trip as cover to escape justice.
In a counter affidavit to oppose the request by Olejeme to travel abroad to treat her ailing heart, Odiase informed the court that the health challenges complained of by the defendant could easily be treated in hospitals in Nigeria.
He said EFCC was in possession of an intelligence report indicating that she will escape trial if allowed to travel abroad.
Justice Aliyu had fixed today, December 14, 2021 to deliver a ruling on the defendant’s application.
In her ruling today, the Judge said Olejeme did not place any material before the court which would have enabled it to take a decision whether to allow her to go or not. “In essence, the court agrees with the counter affidavit of the prosecuting counsel in its totality, because there is nothing to show that she has an underlying medical situation that cannot be treated in Nigeria, but in the United States of America and South Africa.
“The court cannot exercise discretion in her favour, so the application is hereby dismissed,” she ruled.
The judge thereafter adjourned the matter till March 28 and 29, 2022 for continuation of trial.