The Kogi State government has filed a civil suit against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in a Federal High Court in Abuja, claiming N35 billion in damages for “unsubstantiated assertions that it fixed N19.3 billion bailout money obtained from the Federal Government” in a bank account.
The state’s Accountant-General, Momoh Jibrin, and Commissioner for Finance, Budget, and Economic Planning, Asiwaju Mukadam Asiru, are mentioned as claimants in the complaint, while the EFCC, Sterling Bank, and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) are listed as defendants.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) claimed to have discovered N19.3 billion in a Sterling Bank fixed deposit account that belonged to the Kogi government.
The funds were discovered in an account with the name Kogi State Salary Bail Out Funds, according to the anti-graft agency, and were meant to pay salaries in the state but were allegedly not used for that purpose, despite the Kogi government’s repeated denials, claiming it did not open the said account.
In a statement issued by Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Dr. Ayoade Folashade Arike on Monday confirming the lawsuit, the Kogi government said it sued the EFCC for its “false and unfounded” allegations that the funds were recovered from its account.
“The government is demanding the sum of N35 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 state administration further stated that an interim order was issued by the state’s High Court, prohibiting the EFCC from inviting state officials or releasing any documents related to the recovered monies.
The plaintiff further urged the court to declare that the second defendant’s (Sterling Bank) action was unlawful, illegal, and null and void in opening a fixed deposit account number 0073572696 and named it Kogi bailout account without an application, request, authority, or consent from the government.