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EFCC Commences Trial Against Former Chairman of NSITF, Olejeme

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has presented its first witness, Malam Salihu Dantsoho Sadiq against former Chairman of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund, NSITF, Ngozi Olejeme before Justice Maryam Hassan of the FCT High Court Jabi, in the alleged N3billion money laundering criminal trial.

Led in evidence by EFCC counsel, Steve Odiase, the witness in his evidence, denied knowing or ever transacting any direct business with the accused person.

The witness who claimed to be a Bureau De Change operator admitted transacting business in relation to the Social Insurance Trust Fund NSITF through one Henry Sambo for purchase of foreign exchange.

Mallam Sadiq informed the court that the transactions involved millions of naira and that the transaction held between 2014 and 2015.

He said that he was invited in 2015 by EFCC in relation to the transactions and made useful statement in respect of the matter.

Under cross examination by defendant counsel, Mr Paul Erokoro SAN, the witness said that all transactions he carried out followed due process of the law and guidelines of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.

ALSO READ: EFCC Arraigns Convicted Serial Fraudster Over Possession of Fraudulent Documents

Mallam Sadiq told the court that he found nothing suspicious in all the transactions and I would have reported to EFCC if he had noticed anything suspicious.

Meanwhile, EFCC said it had over 78 witnesses to testify against the ex-NSITF boss, but however said it wishes to scale down the numbers billed to testify against Olejeme.

EFCC through its counsel, Mr Steve Odiase informed the court that the anti graft agency has reviewed the case against Olejeme and found that 78 witnesses are too wide and sought to scale them down.

Odiase said that only vital and critical witnesses would be needed and that the commission would come up with an appreciable number of the witnesses to testify against the accused person.

He said: “My Lord, we had earlier informed this Honourable court of intention to call 78 witnesses to give evidence in this trial. But we have decided to scale down the witnesses because it is not how many that matters but how well.

“We will soon come up with an appreciable number of witnesses because we can’t go ahead with 78 witnesses and I urge my Lord to allow us put our house in order before the adjournmed date.”

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After the witnesses was discharged from the witness box, the judge fixed November 29, 2021 for continuation of trial.

The defendant, Olejeme, who was an aide to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, was arraigned before the court on October 21 on a nine-count charge, in which she was accused of abusing her office, receiving bribe, awarding contracts without due process, among others.

Shortly after the arraignment, Justice Aliyu adopted the conditions attached to the administrative bail earlier granted Olejeme by the prosecuting agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in 2017 to admit her to bail.

The conditions include that the defendant produces two Deputy Directors in government employment to stand as her sureties.

In one of the counts, Olejeme was alleged to have “dishonestly received the sum of N22,200,000.00” from a contractor with NSITF into her personal account No. 32327505058110 at GT Bank.

Olejeme was also accused of receiving $48,485,127.00, which was dollars equivalent of some funds received from contractors as “kickback.”

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Top Court News is a product of a dedicated Journalist, owner of I-Wahab Media The Publisher started his Journalism career with Murhi International TV, MiTV in 2003 before working with Radio Nigeria, Lagos Operation, as a Judicial Correspondent. He is presently the Vice Chairman of the National Association of Judicial Correspondent, NAJUC, Ikeja Branch and occupied same office with Nigeria Union of Journalist, NUJ, Radio Nigeria Chapel. topcourtnewsng.com is out to serve you with informative and educative News in the Judiciary sector. To put an end to the under reported activities of the sector among the three arms of government

CRIME

Alleged $8.4m Fraud: Court Orders Serial Fraudster Ajudua To Undergo COVID-19 Test

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A Lagos State High Court, Ajah, has ordered serial fraudster, Fred Ajudua to undergo Covid-19 test at Yaba Infectious Disease Centre Laboratory, in the presence of the representatives of both the prosecution and defence, and the result must be communicated to the court within 48-hours.

Justice Josephine Oyefeso made the order shortly after counsel to the defence, Mr. Akinwale Kola-Taiwo, who represented the lead counsel for the defendant Mr. Olalekan Ojo (SAN), informed the court that though Ajudua was present in court premises but pleaded that he should not be made to entre the court room because he has been tested positive for COVID-19.

Ajudua, allegedly defrauded a former Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Ishaya Bamaiyi of $8.4 million while they were both in Kirikiri Prison in 2004 for different offences.

The defendant and his accomplices approached Bamaiyi and convinced him that he would hire the legal services of Chief Afe Babalola (SAN) at a cost of $8.4million, to help him secure his release from custody.

It is on record that for over two-years, Bamaiyi has been under cross-examination by the defence after giving his evidence-in-chief on Nov. 26, 2018.

Read Also: EFCC Arraigns Convicted Serial Fraudster Over Possession of Fraudulent Documents

The cross-examination of the former Chief of Army Staff has suffered several delays brought about by the defence.

At the resume hearing of proceedings, Mr. Kola-Taiwo told the court that medical report of the defendant shows that he contacted the deadly virus for the first time on 8/01/2021, and was tested negative on 15/01/21 after he treated himself through self-medication.

He said: “I’m sincerely sorry for the absence of the defendant. He is downstairs but I don’t think he should be made to entre the court.

“An associate of the defendant met me and handed over these documents to me. They are medical reports of the defendant testing positive for COVID-19 virus.

“Sometimes around October 14 this year while he was in his home town in Delta State, the defendant also contacted COVID-19. The defendant has been medicating ever since, but the condition is deteriorating

“The latest test was done three days ago on 3/12/21, and the result came out positive again. I was told that the defendant flew in from Delta state last night. We will be praying your lordship for an adjournment to give room for the defendant to be treated for the virus.

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In his response, lead prosecution counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Seidu Atteh query the absence of the lead defence counsel Ojo.

He says the defence should make all the documents available to the prosecution so that they will conduct their own investigation on the authenticity of the documents.

Mr. Atteh said in alternative, the court should invoke S. 235 of the newly passed Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Lagos State, 2014, which states that defendant can be tried in absentia.

Justice Oyefeso while delivering a bench ruling ordered the defendant to be tested at the laboratory of Yaba Infectious Disease Centre, in the presence of both the prosecution and defence.

The court also ordered defence to file application attached all the medical reports of the defendant before the court.

The judge directed prosecution to bringing the issue of S.235 of ACJL, 2014 before the court as an application.

Justice Oyefeso adjourned the matter to February 15, 2022 for continuation of trial.

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Prison Officials Bars Journalist From Covering Arraignment of Ondo Speaker

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The arraignment of the Speaker of the Ondo State House of Assembly, Mr. Bamidele Oleyelogun, before the State High Court sitting at the Olokuta Correctional centre, Akure, over alleged financial misconduct, suffers set back.

Oleyelogun is to be arraign alongside the Clerk of the house, Bode Adeyelu; the lawmaker representing Akoko South West I in the House, Felemu Bankole and two other staff.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, had instituted the charges against the defendants following petition from the sacked Deputy Speaker, Mr. Iroju Ogundeji.

Mr. Ogundeji had petitioned the Commission asking the agency to investigate the fund allegedly collected and shared by the speaker and others for a phoney seminar in Lagos.

The sacked Deputy Speaker had accused the speaker and other principal officers of collecting and sharing N2.4 million meant for a seminar in Lagos which they never attended in 2019.

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Their trial was however stalled following the absence of the lawyer to the EFCC, Mr. Didanj Fredrick

Mr. Frederick, however, said the anti-graft commission did not get the hearing notice until late in the evening of Monday.

The Speaker arrived at the court at about 8:30 am in a tinted Black Prado SUV with a pilot vehicle and another Gold Kia SUV with number plate 95 ODHA.

Meanwhile, journalists were not allowed to cover the court proceedings because the court is located inside the Correctional centre.

The prison officials led by the Squadron Commander, Mr Ibrahim Ogunja, who turned journalists back, said he was acting on an order from Abuja which placed all correctional centres on red alert to forestall jailbreak.

 

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Sexual Offences Court Sentence Rapist To Life Imprisonment

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An Ikeja Domestic Violence and Sexual Offences Court has sentenced a middle-aged artisan, Gbenga Olasunkanmi to life imprisonment with no option of any fine for defiling a 12-year-old customer in his shop.

The presiding judge, Justice Abiola Soladoye handed down the sentenced after finding him guilty of a charge of defilement of a minor proffered against him by the Lagos State Government.

Justice Soladoye noted that the evidence of the prosecution witnesses have been compelling, consistent and the prosecution has proved the offence of defiling a child under Section 137 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2015.

The judge ordered that the convict name, Gbenga Olasunkanmi, should also be registered in the Sex Offenders Register kept by the Lagos State Government.

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“Pouncing on an innocent young girl should be something that should be condemned in all ramifications as she has now suffered emotionally and psychologically.

“This callous defendant is mean and vicious and is not fit to live in a sane society.

“The defendant having been found guilty of the offence as charged, is hereby sentenced to life imprisonment with no option of any fine” the judge ruled

According to the state prosecutor, Mr Peter Owolabani, the convict who is a bag repairer, committed the offence at 5pm on Sept. 6, 2017 at Isolo, Lagos.

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The survivor had gone to repair her schoolbag and when she returned her mother noticed that the bag was not properly repaired and told her to return to the artisan to properly repair the bag.

“After he repaired the bag for the second time, as the survivor was leaving, the convict pulled her back and forcefully defiled her in his shop,” the prosecutor said.

During the trial, three witnesses- the survivor’s father, the survivor and a medical doctor testified for the prosecution while the convict testified solely in his defence.

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