Justice Tijjani Garba Ringim on Tuesday ordered that the said account should be frozen pending the conclusion of investigation or possible prosecution by the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa.
EFCC had approached the court for the order in an ex parte application brought pursuant to section 44(2) of the Constitution and section 34(1) of the EFCC Act, and under the inherent jurisdiction of the court.
The EFCC in its 13-paragraph affidavit in support of the ex parte originating summons deposed to by a member of a team of investigators attached to the Chairman, Monitoring Unit of the EFCC, Lagos, stated that the Commission received credible and direct intelligence which led to the tracing of funds reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities warehoused in account No. 0073572696
and domiciled in Sterling Bank Plc with the name – Kogi State Salary Bailout Account.
He said the Commission acted on the said intelligence and assigned same to the Chairman, Monitoring Unit, where it was discovered that on April 1, 2019, the management of Sterling Bank Plc approved an offer of N20,000,000,000.00 bailout loan facility for Kogi State Government.
According to the deponent, on the June 19, 2019, the Kogi State Government, Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, office of the Honourable Commissioner, applied for credit facility of Twenty Billion Naira (N20, 000,000,000), with an interest rate of 9 percent for a tenure of 240 months from Sterling Bank Plc.
He added that the said facility was meant to augment the salary payment and running cost of the state government.
However, at a press conference in Abuja on Thursday, the commissioner for information, Kingsley Fanwo said the state government have no fixed deposit account as claimed by EFCC in court.
Fanwo said the action of the anti-corruption agency is an attempt to drag the image of the state in the mud.
The state government threatened to drag EFCC to court.