The Kogi State Government has denied the allegation of having a salary bailout loan in a fixed deposit account with Sterling Bank.
The government stated this at a Press Conference organized in Lokoja to respond the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos which gave an order to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to freeze a fixed deposit account No. 0073572696 belonging to the government.
Justice Justice Tijjani Garba Ringim ordered the EFCC to publish the order in a national newspaper and make a quarterly report to the court on the progress of its investigation. The judge also adjourned the matter till December 1 for the report of Investigation.
However, addressing newsmen, the State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mr. Kingsley Fanwo denied the existence of such amount in any of the state government’s operated accounts, accusing the EFCC of doing a bad job.
“For the records, the Kogi State Government vehemently denies having the sum of N19,333,333,333.36 or any other fund in a fixed deposit account with Sterling Bank Plc as alleged. The Kogi State Government states that it never gave any instruction to Sterling Bank Plc, and the said bank also did not fix on its behalf any bailout fund or any other funds.
“The Kogi State Government states that, as of the 23rd day of July 2019, when we utilized the monies for the payment of salaries and allowances to Kogi State civil servants, and up to the 31st day of August 2021, when the purported court order was produced, it had approximately N46,000,000 cumulatively in all the salary and bailout accounts it operates.”
The Commissioner said the EFCC acted on falsehoods and rushed to court without due diligence of checking the bank records.
He added that “when you want to nail a sophisticated administration like the one we are running in Kogi State, you must do your homework properly. This is a bad job, and this is a very bad publicity for the EFCC.
“You cannot change what was posted in the bank four months, five months, one year ago. So, will give it to you, and you will see that what they have done is a lie, what they have promoted and peddled against the people of Kogi State is blatant falsehood just to discredit the administration.
“We did not open or operate or authorized Sterling Bank to open any fixed deposit account.
The Commissioner also read a correspondence from Sterling Bank to prove the innocence of the state government.
Parts of the letter reads:
We were equally surprised and dismayed at the characterization implied in these narrations. As an ethical and law abiding organization, we are confident that our conduct on this account and related transactions are fully beyond reproach and are cooperating fully with the authorities in their enquiries on the Kogi State bailout account.
With this correspondence, we wish to reaffirm Sterling’s commitment to upholding and maintaining the highest standards of professional conduct to your Honourable self, the government and the people of Kogi State.