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₦20 Billion Bailout Loan: EFCC Withdraws Case As Kogi Forfeits ₦19.333B

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Friday withdrew its suit seeking the forfeiture of the N20billion bailout funds granted to the Kogi State Government by Sterling Bank after the EFCC’s condition of forfeiture was met.

One of the grounds was that questions resulting in the commencement of the suit had been clarified, and an intention had been shown to return the sum of N19,333,333,333.36 back to the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The money was meant for the payment of Kogi State workers, but instead, domiciled in an interest yielding account with the bank.

Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke granted the order of withdrawal sequel to a motion filed and argued by the counsel to EFCC, Kemi Pinheiro, SAN.

Mr Pinheiro listed six grounds upon which the judge granted the prayer, adding that “the EFCC is a responsible body”.

Justice Tijjani Ringim had on August 31, granted an ex-parte application brought by the EFCC for an interim forfeiture of the N19, 333, 333, 333.36 billion, said to be warehoused in state’s Sterling Bank account number 0073572696.

Justice Ringim made the order of the interim forfeiture after taken arguments from the EFCC’s counsel, Abbas Muhammed.

The judge ruled that the order was pending the conclusion of an investigation or possible prosecution by the EFCC.

When the matter came up on September 28 before Justice Aneke, he adjourned to hear all applications relating to the loan.

At the resumption of proceedings Friday, Mr Pinheiro presented the EFCC’s grounds for discontinuance as contained in an October 13, 2021 application.

The application titled ‘Notice of discontinuance’ stated the grounds for the discontinuance: “That the account upon which this Suit was instituted was frozen by an Order of this Honourable Court.

“That the Management of Sterling Bank Plc, where account No 0073572696 with the name KOGI STATE SALARY BAIL OUT ACCOUNT is domiciled, has clarified the questions resulting to the commencement of this suit.

“That the management of Sterling Bank Plc, where account No 0073572696 with the name KOGI STATE SALARY BAIL OUT ACCOUNT is domiciled, has since acknowledged the existence of the said account in their book but claimed same was a mirror account.

“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 Honourable Court.

“That the management of Sterling Bank Plc, where account No 0073572696 is domiciled, has pursuant to a letter dated 21st 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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