N19.3bn salary bailout: Kogi govt denies ownership, threatens to sue EFCC

Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State

The Kogi State Government on Sunday denied ownership of the N19.3 billion returned to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Recall that on Friday the EFCC said it returned the sum of N19.33 billion Kogi salary bailout funds it recovered from a Sterling Bank account to the CBN.

However, speaking to newsmen on Sunday, Mr. Kingsley Fanwo, Kogi State Commissioner for Information and Communication, described the claims as “mischievous, false and politically motivated.”

The state also threatened legal action if the EFCC does not within 48 hours, retract the statement.

Fanwo explained that Kogi State does not operate a fixed deposit Sterling Bank account, which had been clarified by the bank in its letter, dated Sept. 1.

He maintained that the state government has disbursed its bailout loans since October 2019 and there is no hidden bailout funds/loan’ belonging to Kogi that is capable of being returned to the CBN or frozen by an order of court.

“The EFCC knows this, which is why it withdrew the suit it filed in Court on the bailout fund.

“The Kogi government did not also open or operate a Kogi State salary bailout fixed deposit account, No. 0073572696, where the said funds were allegedly warehoused and dissipated and now allegedly returned to the CBN,”he said.

Fanwo also challenged the EFCC to provide details of the fixed deposit account, adding that the development gr was aimed at tarnishing the rising political image of Gov. Yahaya Bello.

“We further demand an apology published within 48 hours from today, in one national daily and on all EFCC official and social media platforms, addressed to the governor and the entire government and people of Kogi,” he added.