September 1, 2021

N20bn bail-out loan: Court freezes Kogi State’s account in commercial bank

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By Innocent Anaba

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, yesterday, ordered the freezing of Kogi State salary bailout account number; 0073572696 domiciled in one of the new generation banks over a N20 billion loan obtained from the bank.

Trial judge, Justice Tijjani Ringim made the freezing order on the account pending the conclusion of investigation or possible prosecution by the Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

The commission had through an ex-parte application, informed the court that the order was necessary to preserve the res (subject matter) and abate further dissipation of the funds in the account. 

Counsel to the commission, A. O. Mohammed, moving the application,  told the court that the N20 billion loan meant to augment the salary payment and running cost of the state government was kept in an interest yielding account with the bank.

He argued that instead of using the money for the purpose it was meant for, the bank acting on the instruction of the Kogi State Government transferred the money from the loan account and placed same in a fixed deposit account.

He stated that the bank was yet to present any credible evidence to show that the facility was well secured. 

Granting the application, Justice Ringim ordered the EFCC to publish the order in a national newspaper and make quarterly report to the court on the progress of its investigation.

The court consequently adjourned the matter till December 1, 2021, for the report of Investigation.

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The EFCC in its 13-paragraph affidavit in support of the ex-parte application, deposed to by a member of a team of investigators attached to the Chairman Monitoring Unit Lagos of the EFCC, said that the commission received  credible and direct intelligence which led to the tracing of funds reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities warehoused in account No. 0073572696 domiciled in the bank, with the name Kogi State Salary Bailout Account.

He said the commission acted on the said intelligence and assigned same to the Chairman Monitoring Unit, where it was discovered that on the   April 1, 2019, the management of the bank approved an offer of N20billion bailout loan facility for Kogi State Government. 

According to the deponent, on the June 19, 2019, fiscal year, the Kogi State Government, Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, office of the Commissioner, applied for Credit facility of N20billion,  with an interest rate of nine percent for a tenure of 240 months from the bank” 

He added that the said facility was meant to augment the salary payment and running cost of the state government. 

He stated further that on June 26, 2019, the credit facility offer was accepted vide a memorandum of acceptance signed by Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State, Asiwaju Asiru idris, the Commissioner of Finance Kogi State and one Alhaji Momoh Jibrin, Accountant General, Kogi State. 

He stated that prior to the said application for loan, Kogi State Government on June 19, 2019, vide a letter to the Manager the bank,  Lokoja applied for an account opening in the bank with the name Kogi State Salary Bailout Account with Alhaji Momoh Jubril, accountant General of the State and Elijah Evinemi Ag. Director Treasury as the signatories to the said account.

“That upon the opening of the said account with No. 0072969301, the bank  disbursed salary intervention loan to the tune of N20billion to the account. 

Vanguard News Nigeria