The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has disclosed why it withdrew its suit against the Kogi State Government on the controversial N20billion bailout fund reportedly fixed with Sterling Bank Plc.
The money, which was meant for the payment of Kogi workers, was alleged to have been domiciled in an interest-yielding account with the bank by officials of the state government.
Sharing the update on its official page, the commission disclosed that the decision to withdraw was sequel to the decision of the management of Sterling Bank to return N19, 333,333,333.36 in the frozen account to the Central Bank of Nigeria.
It posted: “Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, on Friday, October 15, 2021, granted the application filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, seeking to discontinue the matter in Suit No. FHC/L/ CS, 1086/2021 involving the N20bn Kogi State Salary bail-out loan.
“The application, according to the Commission’s counsel, Kemi Pinheiro, SAN, is sequel to the decision of the management of Sterling Bank Plc to return the total sum of N19, 333,333,333.36 standing in the credit of the frozen account back to the Central Bank of Nigeria.”
Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke while granting the order of withdrawal on Friday stated that “I have listened to the submission of the learned Silk for the application, Mr Kemi Pinheiro SAN vis-a-vis perused the motion to withdraw. My humble opinion is that application is meritorious and ought to be granted.
At the resumption of proceedings Friday, Mr Pinheiro presented the EFCC’s grounds for discontinuance as contained in an October 13, 2021 application.
“That the Management of Sterling Bank Plc, where account No 0073572696 with the name KOGI STATE SALARY BAIL OUT ACCOUNT is domiciled, has clarified the questions resulting to the commencement of this suit.
“That the management of Sterling Bank Plc, where account No 0073572696 with the name KOGI STATE SALARY BAIL OUT ACCOUNT is domiciled, has since acknowledged the existence of the said account in their book but claimed same was a mirror account.
“That the sum of N19,333,333,333.36 is still standing in the credit of the account frozen pursuant to the Order of this Honourable Court.
“That the management of Sterling Bank Plc, where account No 0073572696 is domiciled, has pursuant to a letter dated 21st September, 2021, signed by its Managing Director indicated intention to return the total sum of N19,333,333,333.36 back to the Central Bank of Nigeria.
“That it is expedient for the instant suit to be discontinued and the account unfrozen to enable the management of Sterling Bank Plc, effect the transfer/return of the sum of N19,333,333,333.36 back to the coffer of the Central Bank of Nigeria where the said bailout funds was disbursed.