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Kogi govt maintains innocence, even as Sterling bank returns N20bn bailout funds to CBN



Kogi govt maintains innocence, even as Sterling bank returns N20bn bailout funds to CBN

The Kogi State Government on Friday insisted that it is innocent of accusations by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in the wake of the resolution of the lawsuit on the alleged misappropriation of a N20 billion bailout fund.

It therefore demanded an apology from the anti-graft commission.

According to the Kogi State Government, it was ’embarrassing’ for the anti-graft agency to institute a lawsuit over the funds.

This was contained in a statement issued by the Commissioner for Information in Kogi, Mr Kingsley Fanwo, who stated the government’s position at the presentation of awards to senior journalists who participated in the GYB Essay Competition for Nigeria’s Political and Crime Editors in Lagos.

Ripples Nigeria had reported that the EFCC on Friday told the court that it was no longer pursuing the case, after Sterling Bank which was holding the funds gave its commitment to return the money to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Read also: EFCC forces Sterling bank to hand over N20bn Kogi bailout funds to CBN

The bank claimed it did not act on the directive of the Kogi State government when it kept the money in a mirror account.

Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke granted the order of withdrawal on Friday sequel to a motion filed and argued by EFCC counsel, Mr Kemi Pinheiro (SAN), leading Mr Rotimi Oyedepo.

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

Nonetheless, Fanwo said it was unfortunate that the commission ignored thorough explanations by the state government on the matter, but chose to heed allegations from “hired guns.”

“It was unfortunate that the commission chose to believe allegations that it fixed N19 billion out of the amount in a new generation bank,” he stated.

He further implored the EFCC to always exhibit justice and professionalism during the discharge of its responsibilities while clarifying that the state government was yet to receive details of the judgement.

Fanwo declared that the state government would address the media after receiving the Certified True Copy of the judgment.

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