Courtroom Freezes Kogi Wage Account After It Diverted Over N20bn That Was Purported to Be Used to Pay Salaries

The federal excessive court docket in Lagos has ordered the Kogi state’s wage bailout account domiciled in Sterling Financial institution Plc be frozen.

This comes after over N20 billion mortgage obtained from the financial institution supposed for use for cost of salaries was diverted.

The EFCC had approached the court docket for an order in an ex-parte software introduced pursuant to part 44 (2) of the Structure and part 34(1) of the Financial and Monetary Crimes Fee Act.

Counsel to the EFCC, Abass Muhammed who advised the court docket that the order was crucial in order to protect the ‘res’ and abate additional dissipation of the funds within the account, famous that the N20 billion mortgage meant to enhance the wage cost and working value of the State Authorities was saved in an interest-yielding account with Sterling financial institution.

Muhammed stated as a substitute of utilizing the cash for the aim it was meant, Sterling Financial institution Plc appearing on the instruction of the Kogi State Authorities transferred the cash from the mortgage account and positioned similar in a set deposit account. He added that Sterling Financial institution Plc is but to current any credible proof to indicate that the power is properly secured.

In a 13-paragraph affidavit in help of the movement, the anti-graft company disclosed {that a} member of a workforce of investigators hooked up to the Lagos monitoring unit of the EFCC whose title wasn’t given within the affidavit, found that in June 19, 2019 fiscal 12 months, the state authorities, ministry of finance and financial improvement, workplace of the honourable commissioner, utilized for a credit score facility of N20 billion with an rate of interest of 9 p.c for a tenure of 240 months from Sterling Financial institution Plc.

It was additionally gathered that previous to the appliance for the mortgage, the state authorities had additionally on June 19, 2019, through a letter to the supervisor of Sterling Financial institution Plc, Lokoja, utilized to open an account within the financial institution with the title ‘Kogi State Wage Bailout Account’, with Momoh Jubril, accountant-general of the state, and Elijah Evinemi, appearing director of treasury, as signatories to the stated account.

On April 1, 2019, the administration of Sterling Financial institution Plc accepted a proposal of N20 billion bailout mortgage facility for the Kogi state authorities and was secured via a memorandum of acceptance signed by Yahaya Bello, Kogi governor; Asiwaju Asiru Idris, commissioner for finance, and Jibrin, the accountant-general.

The affidavit learn;

“That upon the opening of the stated account with No. 0072969301, Sterling financial institution Plc disbursed wage intervention mortgage to the tune of N20,000,000,000.00 to the account.

“That relatively than use the intervention funds for the aim for which it was granted, the state authorities proceeded to open a set deposit account No. 0073572696.

“That on the 25 day of July 2019, Sterling Financial institution Plc appearing on the instruction of the Kogi state authorities transferred the cash from the mortgage account and positioned similar on the aforementioned mounted deposit account.

“That the stated Account sought to be frozen acquired the Sum of Twenty Billion Naira, (N20,000,000,000) on twenty fifth July, 2019.

“That as at 1st day of April, 2021, the steadiness standing to the credit score of the stated mounted deposit account was N19,333,333,333.36.”

The EFCC additionally revealed that it’s “nonetheless tracing the sum of N666,666,666.64”, because the lacking quantity was allegedly not used for cost of salaries.

Ruling on the case, Justice Tijjani Ringim granted the order to freeze the account pending the conclusion of the investigation or potential prosecution by the Financial and Monetary Crimes Fee (EFCC).

The EFCC was additionally directed to publish the court docket order in a nationwide newspaper and to make a quarterly report back to the court docket on the progress of its investigation.

Ringim then adjourned the matter until December 1, for the report of investigation.

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