Take a fresh look at your lifestyle.

N20b bailout fund controversy: Sterling Bank’s Affidavit faults EFCC, exonerates Kogi Govt.

The accusation of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), last August, against the Kogi Government top officials of diverting the sum of N20 billion bailout loan channeled through Sterling Bank and fixing same with the bank instead of using the funds for the purpose for which it was meant, appears to have been laid to rest.

This is so because the report by the Newsnowonline has revealed that the Commission has discontinued with the matter by withdrawing the case against the Kogi State Government apparently due to the Affidavit deposed to by the Sterling Bank that clears the Kogi State government and its top officials pointed accusing fingers at by the commission.

Kogi State Commissioner for Information, Hon. Kingsley Fanwo, who had however, strongly and severally rebuffed the commission over the issue in the past by insisting that the funds under discussion have long been judiciously utilised as stipulated for salaries, asking rhetorically how funds that had been disbursed could still be fixed?

READ ALSO: http://25 benefit as Foundation fetes widows, the aged, others

Reacting to the reported withdrawal of the case by the EFCC, Fanwo was reported to have said that, “if the Commission had gone ahead with its N20 billion salary bail-out fund case against the Kogi State Government, it would have been thoroughly embarrassed,” basing his assertion on the documents from Sterling Bank.

Discontinuation of the case for the forfeiture of the alleged N20 billion it claimed was fixed in Sterling Bank by the EFCC was in the middle of October, 2021. The Commission’s back down might not be unconnected with the document from the Sterling Bank that have shed some required lights on the issue.

The Newsnowonline reported that, “In a letter written by Sterling Bank to the Kogi State Commissioner for Finance, dated September 1, 2021, titled, RE: REQUEST FOR CLARIFICATION REGARDING CERTAIN ALLEGED TRANSACTIONS WITH YOUR BANK BY THE KOGI STATE GOVERNMENT BEING INVESTIGATED BY THE ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL CRIMES COMMISSION (EFCC)”, the Bank, which expressed surprise and dismay at the media narration surrounding the transactions, said, “In the light of the above submissions, permit us to respond to your enquiry as follows:

“The Kogi State government does not currently operate or maintain a fixed deposit account with Sterling Bank.

“There is no mandate letter from the Kogi State government to open account number 0073572696 with Sterling Bank.

“Sterling Bank account 0073572696 is an internal (mirror) account operated by the Bank for purposes of managing the Kogi State salary bailout facility.”

READ ALSO: http://GOAT Messi wins World Cup for Argentina

Another crucial evidence that appears to have completely changed the narrative, according to the report, was the affidavit deposed to by the Chief Compliance Officer of Sterling Bank, Muktadir Jaiyeola, with the Managing Director of the Bank as 2nd applicant, in a suit on the matter filed at a Federal High Court, sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, on December 1, 2021.

The Affidavit came upon repeated invitations by the Kogi State House of Assembly to the bank to clear the air on the allegations by the EFCC against the government.

Sterling Bank, in the affidavit, contrary to the claims of the EFCC, indicated that the Kogi State Government did not fix any N20 billion with it and confirmed that the funds alleged to have been fixed were fully disbursed to several beneficiaries at the instance of the Kogi State Government.

The bank in Paragraph 12 of the affidavit, said, “At the direction of the Kogi State Government, payments were made from Kogi State Government Salary Account to several beneficiaries between the 23rd July 2019 and 25th July 2019 and the entirety of the Kogi State Salary Bail out intervention fund in the sum of NGN20 billion was fully disbursed at the instance of the Kogi State Government.”

The bank, which frowned at repeated invitation sent by the state House of Assembly to the Managing Director, asking him to appear in person, the Bank further exonerated the state government, while in Paragraph 23 of the affidavit, it reiterated that there was nothing like a fixed deposit account opened by the Kogi State Government for the bailout fund as stated in its September 1, 2021 response letter to the state.

With the above latest development, it appears as if the controversial issue of the N20bn bail-out fund must have been finally laid to rest.