The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has frozen 30 bank accounts linked to Dr. Ngozi Olojeme, the Deputy Chairman, Finance Committee of the Goodluck Jonathan Campaign Organisation in the 2015 presidential election, The PUNCH has learnt.
The development comes less than three months after the EFCC seized 37 houses traced to Olojeme who served as the Chairman of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund from 2009 to 2015.
The seizures, it was learnt, were part of investigations into allegations that Olojeme and other senior officials of the NSITF diverted $48m (N68bn).
It was learnt that the commission had placed a ‘Post No Debit’ order on 30 accounts traced to Olojeme.
A source at the commission said, “She has about 26 accounts with First Bank and four at Guaranty Trust Bank. The accounts have been frozen pending investigations.”
According to court documents made available to our correspondent, the 37 properties seized are located in Abuja, Bayelsa, Enugu and Delta.
Some of the choice properties include a mansion at 25 Kainji Crescent off Lake Chad Crescent, Maitama, Abuja; a duplex at 30 Tunis Street, Wuse Zone 6; House 86 , 11 Crescent, Kado Estate, Abuja; Plot 3115 Cadastral Zone A04, Asokoro, Abuja; Plot 2271 Cadastral Zone E12, Orozo, Abuja and a property located at Plot 933 Cadastral Zone, B01, Gudu District, Abuja.
Other properties seized from the ex-NSITF boss include: a house at 20 DBS Road, Asaba, Delta State properties located at 17 Ebenuwa Street, Asaba, Delta State; 6.84 hectares of land located at plots 96, 97 and 98 at Oshimili South LGA of Delta State; a parcel of land located at 11 Okadigbo Street off Nebisi Road, Asaba Delta State; and a house and parcel of land located at 3 Ogwa Godspower Avenue, Oshimili South LGA, Delta State.
In a suit filed before Justice A.I. Chikere of the Federal High Court in Abuja, the EFCC prayed the court to issue an interim forfeiture order against the assets belonging to Olojeme.
The anti-graft agency also asked the court to stop the former NSITF boss from selling the properties or using it to secure a loan.
In granting the prayers, the court ruled, “The orders are granted as prayed; the order will last for six months.”
Explaining how the alleged scam took place, the source said Olojeme and other senior officials diverted funds from the NSITF under the pretext that the funds were meant for contractors.
A detective at the commission said, “It was nothing but contract fraud. Some directors at the NSITF set up companies and used those companies to secure contracts from the agency. Then money wis paid into the bank accounts of these companies as part of the terms of the contracts.
“However, once the money is paid, they go to withdraw it and take it to bureau de change operators to convert them to dollars. The money is then taken back to the NSITF where they share the dollars.”
The NSITF 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 1 per cent from all government and private sector employees enrolled in the scheme.
However, according to documents made available to The PUNCH, Olojeme and some directors in the company allegedly diverted billions of naira including funds meant for the payment of allowances of its staff as well as compensation of contributors.
The EFCC has since arraigned five former senior officials of the NSITF, including the former Managing Director, Umar Abubakar.
Olojeme, who was also the convener of the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme sub-committee on Public Works and Road Rehabilitation, has, however, not yet been arraigned but is currently on administrative bail.
The former NSITF boss had, however, denied the allegations levelled against her.
In a statement signed by her aide, Stanley Imoko, the former NSITF boss said senior officials of the agency were the ones who stole money but decided to tell lies against her because she was not in the country when investigations into the matter began.