EFCC withdraws case against Kogi government

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Friday withdrew his lawsuit demanding the confiscation of the N20billion bailout funds given to the Kogi state government by Sterling Bank.

The money was intended for the payment of workers in Kogi State, but would have instead been domiciled in an interest-bearing account with the bank.

Judge Chukwujekwu Aneke granted the withdrawal order following a motion filed and argued by EFCC lawyer Kemi Pinheiro, SAN.

Mr Pinheiro listed six reasons why the judge granted the prayer, adding that “the EFCC is a responsible body”.

One of the reasons was that the issues leading to the initiation of the prosecution had been clarified and it had been demonstrated that he intended to return the sum of Naira 19,333,333,333.36 to the Bank. central Nigeria.

On August 31, Judge Tijjani Ringim granted an ex parte request by the EFCC for provisional confiscation of N19, 333, 333, 333.36 billion, which would be stored in the account of the Sterling Bank of the State number 0073572696.

Judge Ringim issued the interim confiscation order after hearing arguments from EFCC lawyer Abbas Muhammed.

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

When the matter was raised on September 28 before Judge Aneke, he adjourned to hear all applications relating to the loan.

When the proceedings resumed on Friday, Mr. Pinheiro presented the EFCC’s reasons for withdrawal as they appear in a request of October 13, 2021.

The request entitled “Notice of Abandonment” indicated the reasons for the withdrawal: “That the account on which this lawsuit was brought has been frozen by an order of this Honorable Court.

“That the management of Sterling Bank Plc, where account number 0073572696 with the name KOGI STATE SALARY BAIL OUT ACCOUNT is domiciled, clarified the issues arising from the commencement of this action.

“That the management of Sterling Bank Plc, where account number 0073572696 with the name KOGI STATE SALARY BAIL OUT ACCOUNT is domiciled, has since acknowledged the existence of said account in its book but has asserted that it was a mirror account.

“That the sum of N 19,333,333,333.36 is still to the credit of the frozen account in accordance with the order of this Honorable Court.

“That the management of Sterling Bank Plc, where account number 0073572696 is domiciled, has, in accordance with a letter dated September 21, 2021, signed by its managing director, indicated its intention to return the total sum of N19 333 333 333, 36 at the Central Bank of Nigeria. .

“That it is expedient that the legal action be dropped and the account released to enable the management of Sterling Bank Plc to effect the transfer / return of the sum of N 19,333,333,333.36 in the vault of the Central Bank of Nigeria where said rescue funds were disbursed.

Accepting the EFCC’s request, Judge Aneke said he had listened to the request and seen the motion to withdraw.

“My humble opinion is that the request is meritorious and must be granted.

“Accordingly, the request is granted as requested. “

Kogi state government attorney Sam Erogbo (SAN) praised the EFCC for its “professional approach”.

He asked the court that the previously granted interim confiscation order be set aside, for clarity.

But the judge refused, noting that the EFCC was “very clear in its request to withdraw, which is clearly established in paragraph 6”.

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