The Lagos Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi on Tuesday resumed hearing on the controversial N20 billion case between the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Kogi State Government.
The counsel to the Kogi State Government, Sam Erogbo (SAN) told the court that his client had filed process against the interim order granted by Justice Ringim and that the EFCC has equally filed counter to the processes.
Erogbo made an application, telling the court that he needed time to study the counter affidavit filed by the EFCC. Consequently, he asked the court for a short date.
Counsel to the EFCC, Rotimi Oyedepo, admitted being served with the processes and that he has equally filed counter to such.
Following the adjournment request of the Kogi State counsel, Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke, adjourned the matter till October 15, for a hearing of all applications.
Recall that Justice Tijjani Garba Ringim of a Federal High Court in Lagos granted an order freezing a Kogi salary bailout account reportedly domiciled in a new generation bank over a N20 billion loan obtained from the bank.
Justice Tijjani made the order pending the conclusion of an investigation or possible prosecution by the EFCC.
The agency approached the court via an ex-parte application brought pursuant to Section 44(2) of the Constitution and Section 34(1) of the EFCC Act.
EFCC counsel, Mr A. O. Muhammed, informed the court that the order was necessary to preserve the res and abate further dissipation of the funds in the account.
Moving the application, Muhammed alleged that the N20b loan was meant to augment the salary payment and running cost of the state government but was kept in an interest yielding account with the bank.
He added that instead of using the money for the purpose it was meant for, the Kogi State Government instructed the bank to transfer the money from the loan account and place same in a fixed deposit account.
According to the agency, the bank was yet to present any credible evidence to show that the facility is well secured.
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.