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EFCC to scale down witnesses in N3bn fraud trial of NSITF chairman, Olejeme

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC has told an FCT High Court of its intentions to reduce the number of witnesses originally billed to testify against former Chairman, Nigeran Social Insurance Trust Fund NSITF, Mrs Ngozi Olejeme.

The EFCC had originally scheduled 78 witnesses against Olejeme in the N3bn money laundering criminal charges brought against her by the federal government.

Through its counsel, Mr Steve Odiase, the EFCC informed the court that it had reviewed the case against Olejeme and found that 78 witnesses were too much and resolved 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 witnesses to testify against the accused.

“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 to put our house in order before the adjourned date.

At Monday’s proceedings, EFCC called its first witness, Malam Salihu Dantsoho 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 NSITF through one Henry Sambo for the purchase of foreign exchange.

Led in evidence by EFCC counsel, Steve Odiase, the witness informed the court that the transactions involved millions of naira and that the transaction was held between 2014 and 2015.

He said he was invited in 2015 by the EFCC about the transactions and made useful statements in respect of the matter.

Under cross-examination by Mr Paul Erokoro SAN who stood for the defendant, the witness said all transactions he carried out followed the law and guidelines of the Central Bank of Nigeria CBN.

“I found nothing suspicious in all the transactions and I would have reported to EFCC if I had noticed anything suspicious.

Justice. Maryam Hassan Aliyu has, however, fixed November 29 for the continuation of trial.(Dailypost)

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