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Tuesday, December 7, 2021

EFCC withdraws case against Kogi State over N20 bln bailout fund

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Friday withdrawn its suit seeking the forfeiture of N20 billion bailout funds granted to the Kogi State Government by Sterling Bank.

The anti-graft agency had brought the case against Kogi State over allegation that the bail out fund, which was meant for the payment of Kogi workers, was diverted to an interest-yielding account with the bank by officials of the state government.

Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke granted the order of withdrawal on the case following a motion filed and argued by EFCC counsel, Kemi Pinheiro and Rotimi Oyedepo.

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

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 to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

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“I have listened to the submission of the learned Silk for the application, Kemi Pinheiro vis-a-vis perused the motion to withdraw. My humble opinion is that application is meritorious and ought to be granted
“Accordingly, the application is granted as prayed,” Justice Aneke ruled.

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 the State’s account number.

Justice Ringim made the order of the interim forfeiture after taking 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.

However, following the suit, Kogi State Government had debunked the allegation and stated that the State government judiciously used the funds for its intended purpose.

The state threatned to seek appropriate legal actions to redress the allegations which it said have tarnished the reputation of the State and Governor Yahaya Bello.

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