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Breaking: N20 billion salary bail out: Kogi loses as Court grants EFCC’s request to return money back to CBN

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Kogi State government has finally lost out over the N20 billion bail out workers’ salary fund as the Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, on Friday, October 15, 2021, granted the application filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC seeking to discontinue the matter in Suit No.

FHC/L/ CS, 1086/2021 involving the N20 billion Kogi State Salary bail-out loan.

The anti-graft agency’s lawyer, Kemi Pinheiro, (SAN) has asked the Court through an application for the Sterling Bank to return the fund to the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The sum of N19, 333,333,333.36 which was the workers’ salary bailout fund was standing in the credit of the frozen account of Kogi State.

Justice Tijani Garba Ringim had on 31st August frozen the fund through the ex-parte order of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

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The anti-graft agency acting on a credible intelligence sworn a 13 paragraph affidavit and averred that there was proceeds of unlawful activities in an account No. 0073572696 domiciled in Sterling Bank, Plc with the name Kogi State Salary Bailout Account, a situation that the prayer to froze the account was granted.

EFCC submitted in Court that the sum of N20 billion bail out which was meant for workers salary was kept in an interest yielding account contrary to what it was originally meant for.

Kogi State government has been fighting to de-freeze the account, a case that was adjourned till today after it has been reassigned.

At the resumed sitting on Friday, counsel to the EFCC, Kemi Pinheiro, SAN, told the court that the management of Sterling Bank Plc, where the account number 0063572696 with the name Kogi State Salary Bail-out account is domiciled had acknowledged the existence of the said account in its book, “but claimed the same was a mirror account.”

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He further told the court that the management of Sterling Bank, where account number 0073572696 with the name Kogi State Salary Bail-out account is domiciled had clarified the questions leading to the commencement of the suit.

He further told the court that “The sum of N19, 333,333,333.36 is still standing in the credit of the account frozen pursuant to the Order of this Honorable Court”, adding that “That the management of Sterling Bank PIc, where account No. 0073572696 is domiciled has, pursuant to a letter dated 15 September, 2021, signed by its Managing Director, indicated intention to return the total sum of N19,333,333,333.36 back to the Central Bank of Nigeria.”

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He, therefore, prayed that it “is expedient for the instant suit to be discontinued and the account unfrozen to enable the management of Sterling Bank PIc effect the transfer/ return of the sum of the sum of N19,333, 333, 333.36 back to the coffer of the Central Bank of Nigeria , where the said bailout funds was disbursed.”

In his response, counsel to the respondent, Eguro, acknowledged the notice of discontinuation.

In his ruling, Justice Aneke held that, “since this is what they are asking for, the application is therefore granted as plead.”

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