Court issues confiscation orders for property belonging to alleged corrupt public official – Commentary


In July 2020, the Federal High Court ordered the provisional confiscation of assets believed to belong to the former president of the Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), Ngozi Olejeme. The NSITF is an employer and federally funded plan that compensates insured employees who suffer from occupational illnesses, sustain injuries or develop a disability as a result of accidents in the workplace or in the course of employment. . Under current legislation, administrators of cumulative contributions received into the fund must invest unpaid benefit amounts in safe, liquid and profitable investments in order to generate income for benefit payment.

Olejeme was president of the NSITF from 2009 to 2015. Meanwhile, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) received numerous reports that she had embezzled public funds, laundered money and abused her office. When the EFCC began investigating the reports in 2016, Olejeme disappeared and was declared wanted. She is accused, along with former NSITF chief executive Umar Munir Abubakar, of mismanaging and embezzling over 69 billion naira (around $ 180 million) into their personal accounts by awarding bogus contracts to companies of proxy.

About three years after declaring her wanted, the EFCC obtained from the Federal High Court the provisional confiscation of real estate in various parts of Nigeria believed to have belonged to Olejeme. This recovery step came after the EFCC froze more than 30 bank accounts allegedly linked to the former president, only to discover small sums in the accounts.

Despite this step, the question remains as to why it took so long for the EFCC to uncover Olejeme’s alleged connection to these particular assets. Since she stepped down, the NSITF has reportedly been deprived of more than N69 billion that could have been invested for the benefit of insured employees.

For more information on this, please contact Olamide Aleshinloye of Sofunde Osakwe Ogundipe & Belgore by phone (+234 1 462 2502) or by e-mail ([email protected]). The Sofunde Osakwe Ogundipe & Belgore website can be accessed at www.sooblaw.com.


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