A day after the anti-graft agency, EFCC, provided ‘evidence’ that the N19.3 billion which the Kogi State Government allegedly hid in a commercial bank has been returned to the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Kogi government has denied the claim.
However, rather than provide evidence to back its stance, the Kogi government said it would prepare a comprehensive response to what it called “the desperate moves by the commission.”
The EFCC had earlier accused the Kogi State Government of keeping about N20 billion bailout fund meant to pay workers salaries in a commercial bank in order to yield interest. The Kogi government had denied the allegation.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how, on Friday, the EFCC released a statement announcing that the money has now been transferred to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Citing a letter by the CBN dated November 9, the EFCC said the central bank informed the EFCC chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, of an acknowledgement receipt of the money received.
The commission said the receipt of the money by the CBN had effectively put to rest a “smear campaign of misinformation and unconscionable denials by the Kogi State government that no fund was recovered from its bailout account.”
“The transfer has put paid to any further controversy regarding source and ownership of the funds and most importantly, aborted the fund’s dissipation,” the commission stated.
The central bank’s letter referenced, DFD/DIR/CON/EXT/01/099 and dated November 9, 2021, reads, “We refer to your letter dated November 5, 2021 with Ref. No: CR:3000/EFCC/LS/CMU/REC-STE/VOL.4/047 on the above subject and wish to confirm the details of the receipt of the amount as stated below: Bank: Sterling Bank Plc; Amount: N19, 333, 333,333.36; Date of receipt: 04 November, 2021.”
Kogi’s Latest Response
In its latest response, the Kogi government, through the Commissioner for Information and Communication, Kingsley Fanwo, said that the state government has facts to disprove the EFCC’s assertions.
He, however, did not provide the facts but said the Kogi government would prepare a comprehensive response later.
Mr Fanwo said that EFCC’s move was only a way to save its face in view of what it called its“ unethical conduct in the matter in dispute.”
“It is laughable the EFCC’s attempt to desperately wriggle out of a bad case with another mischief aimed, again, at misleading Nigerians.
“The EFCC had finally exposed the fact that it had been pursuing a political agenda all along.
“The press statement by the commission is a malicious attempt to rope the state into a matter that ordinarily has nothing to do with our dear state.
“We maintain the unassailable truth that the Kogi State Government did not operate such account with the Sterling Bank as affirmed in a letter by the bank.
“We sympathise with the EFCC as it has been a herculean task to cover the initial misinformation and deliberate deceit by the commission,” the statement added.
Mr Fanwo stressed that the Kogi government would react to the latest EFCC statement comprehensively, noting that “every option that is legal will be considered to maintain the innocence and transparency of our government.”
“Kogites (Kogi people) and indeed, Nigerians should rest assured that we will get to the root of this matter,” he assured.
EFCC had approached the court
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that on August 31, the EFCC in a submission before a Lagos High Court alleged that the Kogi government kept a N20 billion loan meant for payment of salaries to yield interest at the Sterling Bank.
The Kogi government, in its reaction, presented documents to show that the state did not operate any such account with the bank.
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