Tuesday, August 9, 2022

N19.3 Billion Bailout: Kogi sues EFCC, demands N35 billion damages

Governor Yahaya Bello’s government has sued the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), demanding N35 billion in damages.

• December 13, 2021
Yahaya Bello and Abdulrasheed Bawa
Yahaya Bello and Abdulrasheed Bawa

Governor Yahaya Bello’s government has sued the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), demanding N35 billion in damages over the controversial N19.3 billion Kogi bailout fund.

On Sunday, a statement by the Kogi government said it sued the EFCC for its “false and unfounded” allegations that the funds were recovered from its account.

Listed as the plaintiffs in the suit were the Kogi government, its accountant-general, Momoh Jibrin, and Commissioner for Finance, Budget and Economic Planning, Mukadam Asiru, while the EFCC, Sterling Bank, and Central Bank of Nigeria were listed as defendants.

“The government is demanding the sum of 35 billion only as to damages against the 1st defendant for the defamatory publication, titled, ‘Hidden N19.3bn Kogi salary bailout funds returned to CBN’ made on November 19, 2021, on her Facebook page containing amongst others, false and unfounded allegations of N19.3 billion being returned from Kogi State bailout account, which portrays fraud and misappropriation of the public fund against the claimant,” the statement said.

The Kogi government also noted that the court granted an interim injunction restraining the EFCC from inviting state officials or further publishing any document regarding the recovered funds.

It said the court granted an interim injunction restraining the first defendant/respondents, its allies, agents, representatives, associates from doing anything “either by way of publication or print or electronic media or issuing any official or unofficial publication in any print or electronic media,” including online publication on its website or social media, on issues involving account number 0073572696 until the hearing and determination of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction.

The Kogi government also sought an interim injunction restraining the first defendant/respondent, its allies, agents, representatives, associates from doing anything either by inviting officials of the first claimant or requesting any document involving account number 0073572696 or any other account “pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice for Interlocutory Injunction.”

The Kogi government also asked the court to declare EFCC’s statement on the recovered funds “defamatory.”

The EFCC had claimed it discovered N19.3 billion belonging to the Kogi government in a fixed deposit account with Sterling Bank.

The funds in the account 0073572696 with the name Kogi State Salary Bail Out Account were meant to pay salaries in the state and were allegedly not used for its purpose.

The government had repeatedly denied this, claiming it did not open the account, but corporate documents seen by Peoples Gazette showed Mr Bello’s administration opened the account in 2019. 

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