The trial of former Chairman of Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund, NSITF, Dr. Ngozi Olejeme, has suffered a setback after she allegedly slumped at home today.
TheFact Nigeria recalls that Olejeme, who is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on a nine count charge bordering on criminal conspiracy, abuse of office, diversion of public funds and money laundering to the tune of over one billion naira, was first arraigned in October last year, before Justice Maryam Hassan Aliyu of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, Jabi Abuja.
In December, the Court refused an application filed by the defendant to proceed on an urgent trip abroad for medical attention to her heart. However, in a counter affidavit to oppose her request the prosecuting counsel informed the court that the health challenges complained of by the defendant could easily be treated in hospitals in Nigeria.
He added that the EFCC was in possession of an intelligence report indicating that she will escape trial if allowed to travel abroad. The trial was then adjourned to 28 and 29 of March, 2022.
According to a statement today by Olejeme’s counsel, Paul Erokoro, the defendant slumped at exactly 6:30 am today while getting set for court, and was rushed to the Federal Medical Centre Jabi, Abuja for medical attention.
Erokoro presented a letter informing the court about the development and praying for an adjournment. He further told the court that he could not present a medical report as the hospital was still reviewing her case.
Responding, the prosecuting counsel, Sir Steve Odiase did not oppose the application for adjournment. “My lord, they served us with a letter seeking for an adjournment based on the defendant’s ill health, and being the defendant’s first time absenting herself in the court and for the interest of justice, we are not opposing their application seeking adjournment.
“Meanwhile, for record purposes, we came prepared with five witnesses in court, and all of them stood up for recognition,” he said.
Justice Aliyu thereafter adjourned the matter till April 13, 2022, for continuation of trial.