The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC, on Monday told the Federal Capital Territory high court in Abuja of its intention to scale down 78 witnesses slated to give evidence against former Chairman of the Nigeran Social Insurance Trust Fund, NSITF Ngozi Olejeme in the N3 billion naira money laundering criminal charges brought against her by the federal government.
The EFCC through its counsel, Steve Odiase informed the court that the anti graft agency has reviewed the case against Olejeme and that only vital and critical witnesses would be needed to testify against the accused person.
When proceedings kicked off, EFCC called its first witness, Salihu Sadiq who however 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, through one Henry Sambo for purchase of foreign exchange.
Led in evidence by EFCC counsel, the witness 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 counsel for the defendant Paul Erokoro, the witness said that all transactions he carried out followed due process of law and guidelines of the Central Bank of Nigeria CBN.
Justice Maryam Aliyu, after listening to the witness and Counsel in the matter, however fixed November 29 for further trial of 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.
She was alleged to have received the sum of N22,200,000.00 from a contractor with NSITF into her personal account and also received the sum of $48,485,127.00, which was dollars equivalent of some funds received from contractors as “kickback.”
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