The Kogi state government has filed a lawsuit against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission over the bailout funds which raised controversies months ago.
Recall that the Kogi state salary bailout account domiciled in Sterling Bank Plc was frozen following an ex-parte application brought by the EFCC. The anti-graft commission had alleged that the money, which was meant for the payment of salaries in the state, was kept in an interest-yielding account with the name ‘Kogi State Salary Bailout Account’.
However after the EFCC claimed that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has received N19.3 billion recovered from the state account domiciled in the bank, the state government asked the anti-graft agency to apologise to Governor Yahaya Bello within 48 hours or face legal actions.
The Kogi state government has now filed a lawsuit against EFCC at the state high court over “unsubstantiated allegations”, demanding the sum of N35 billion as damages.
The statement read;
“The Kogi State Government, Accountant-General of the State, Momoh Jibrin; and Commissioner for Finance, Budget and Economic Planning, Asiwaju Mukadam Asiru, were claimants in the suit, while the EFCC, Sterling Bank and Central Bank of Nigeria were listed as defendants.
“The Government is demanding the sum of N35billion only as damages against the 1st defendant for the defamatory publication, titled, ‘Hidden N19.3bn 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 state government which asked the court to declare the publication by EFCC as “misconceived, wrongful, illegal, null and void”, said it has been granted “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 Sterling Bank Plc 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 Injuction.”
Kogi government is also seeking for an order compelling the 1st Defendant to 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 motion on notice will be heard on December 17.