Hidden N19.3bn Kogi salary bail-out fund returned to CBN – EFCC

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has announced that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has confirmed receipt of the N19.3 billion it recovered from the Kogi State Salary Bail-out account at Sterling Bank Plc.

The commission had previously stated that the Kogi State Government had stored the federal bailout funds provided in 2019 for the payment of wage arrears owing to government servants in the state.

Wilson Uwujaren, the commission’s Head of Media and Publicity, stated in a statement on Friday, November 19, that the development “essentially puts to rest the Kogi State Government’s campaign of misinformation and immoral allegations that no fund was recovered from its bail fund.”

“The apex bank in a letter referenced, DFD/DIR/CON/EXT/01/099 and dated 9th November, 2021 informed the Executive Chairman, EFCC, Abdulrasheed Bawa that it has received the money,” Uwajaren stated. 

The letter reads in part: “We refer to your letter dated November 5, 2021 with Ref. No: CR:3000/EFCC/LS/CMU/REC-STE/VOL.4/047 on the above subject and wish to confirm the details of the receipt of the amount as stated below: Bank: Sterling Bank Plc; Amount: N19, 333, 333,333.36; Date of receipt: 04 November, 2021”.

“The return of the money to the apex bank is in compliance with the October 15, 2021 Order of a Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi Lagos directing the unfreezing of the Kogi State Salary Bail-out account to enable Sterling Bank to remit the balance in the account to the Central Ban of Nigeria. Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke gave the Order pursuant to an application filed by the EFCC.

“The Commission had told the court that the management of Sterling Bank Plc, where the account was domiciled had acknowledged the existence of the said account with the staggering sum of N19, 333,333,333.36 in its books.

“The Commission further brought to the attention of the court that “The sum of N19, 333,333,333.36 is still standing in the credit of the account frozen”, adding that “the management of Sterling Bank PIc, 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.

“The EFCC prayed The court 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.”

However, Kogi State Government had denied hiding the money, claiming that the said funds were disbursed since October 2019. 

Kogi Commissioner of Information and Communication, Kingsley Fanwo, described EFCC claim as “false, malicious and a deliberate attempt to malign the integrity of Governor Yahaya Bello”

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