Kogi state government officials have been accused of hijacking the state government ‘s 20 billion naira bailout to pay workers.
We learned that the money had been diverted to an interest-bearing account.
The money was deposited in Sterling Bank, with the account name: Kogi State Salary Bailout Account.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is seeking a court order to ensure the money is confiscated and returned to the Nigerian government coffers.
The Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos, chaired by Judge Chukwujekwu Aneke, adjourned Tuesday until October 15, 2021, the hearing of all claims regarding the money.
At the hearing of the case, Kogi State Government attorney Professor Sam Erogbo, SAN, told Judge Aneke that his client had filed appeals against the interim order granted by the judge. Ringim, and that the EFCC had also filed a response to the same.
He told the court he needed time to respond to the EFCC’s counterclaim and also requested a short date to hear his claims.
EFCC lawyer Rotimi Oyedepo in his response admitted to being served with the proceedings and added that he also filed a counterclaim.
Therefore, Judge Aneke adjourned the case until October 15, 2021, for all claims to be heard.
Judge Tijani Garba Ringim ordered the account to be frozen on August 31, 2021, following an ex parte request filed by the EFCC.
The EFCC, in a 13 paragraph affidavit in support of the ex parte claim, said the money was reasonably suspected of being the proceeds of illegal activity in an account No.0073572696 domiciled at Sterling Bank, Plc with the name Kogi State Salary Bailout Account.
EFCC lawyer AO Mohammed had urged the court to grant the order to prevent further dissipation of funds from the account, moving the request for provisional forfeiture of funds to August 31, 2021.
The 20 billion naira loan intended to increase the payment of salaries and the running costs of the government was kept in an interest account with the bank, Mohammed also told Judge Ringim.
“Instead of using the money for the purpose for which it was intended, Sterling Bank Plc, acting on instructions from the Kogi State government, transferred the money from the loan account and placed it in an account. term deposit. “
He also told the court that the bank had yet to present credible evidence showing the facility was well secured.
Judge Ringim ordered the freezing of account number 0073572696, and also ordered the publication of the order in a national newspaper by the EFCC, after hearing the applicant’s lawyer.
The Commission was also ordered to report quarterly to the tribunal on the progress of its investigation.
The Kogi State government has denied these allegations.