In the continued drag race between the Kogi State Government, Sterling Bank Plc and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the state government has gone to court to seek redress on the 20 billion Naira bailout fund returned to the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Recall that the state government had threatened to sue the EFCC if the commission did not tender an apology over publications which indicted the government of having fixed the bailout fund in an account with Sterling Bank, which the bank had agreed and returned to the CBN.
The fund was meant to pay salaries and pensions of workers and retirees respectively.
In the suit before Justice J. Majebi of the State High Court, the Commissioner for Finance, Asiru Idris and the Accountant General, Momoh Jibrin were claimants, while the EFCC, Sterling Bank, and CBN were listed as defendants.
The state government is demanding:”the sum of N35 billion only as damages against the 1st defendant for the defamatory publication, titled, ‘Hidden N19.3 billion Kogi salary bailout funds returned to CBN’ made on November 19, 2021 on her Facebook page containing amongst others, false and unfounded allegations of N19.3 billion being returned from Kogi State bailout account, which portrays fraud and misappropriation of public fund against the claimant.”
The government also asked the Court to declare that the publication by the EFCC containing, amongst others, false and unfounded allegations of N19.3 billion being returned was defamatory of the character of the Kogi State government.
The Kogi government asked for “an order of this Court compelling the 1st Defendant to, within 48 hours of the order of this Court, publish in three national dailies, a retraction of her frivolous allegations and also tender unreserved apology to the Claimant for the defamatory publication written against the Claimant.”
The High Court granted the following:
“An interim injunction restraining the 1st Defendant/Respondents, its allies, agents, representatives, associates or whoever is acting for them or through them from doing anything either by way of publication or print or electronic media or issuing any official or unofficial publication in any print or electronic media, including online publication on its website or social media, both locally and internationally, with respect to the issues involving Account No. 0073572696 or any other account purportedly belonging to the 1st Claimant/Applicant domiciled with a new generation bank or any other bank registered and operating in Nigeria pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice for interlocutory injunction.
“An interim injunction restraining the 1st Defendant/Respondent, its allies, agents, representatives, associates or whoever is acting for them or through them from doing anything either by inviting officials of the 1st Claimant or requesting for any document with respect to the issue involving Account No 0073572696 or any other account purportedly belonging to the 1st Claimant/Applicant domiciled with a new generation bank or any other bank registered and operating in Nigeria or otherwise relating to or pertaining to the affairs of the 1st Claimant whatsoever or its employees, appointees or associates pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice for Interlocutory Injunction.”
The Motion on Notice shall be heard on December 17, 2021, according to the Court.