Group challenges EFCC to publish account details of alleged N19.3b Kogi fund
A group, the Central Nigeria Young Professionals for Justice and Integration (CNYPJI) has given the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) a 48-hour ultimatum to publish account details of the N19.3b bailout fund it accused the Kogi State Government of diverting.
EFCC had alleged that the bailout money, which was meant for the payment of salary arrears in the state, was deposited in an interest-yielding account designated as “Kogi State Salary Bailout Account.”
But the state government, which had consistently denied opening such account, accused a commercial bank of opening the account without its mandate.
As a result, Justice Tijani Garba Ringim ordered the freezing of the account following an ex-parte application earlier filed by the EFCC.
In a 13-paragraph affidavit in support of the ex-parte application, the commission stated that it received intelligence, which led to the tracing of the funds suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities on the purported Kogi State Salary Bailout Account.
President of the group, Moses Ejembi, who addressed newsmen in Abuja, yesterday, also asked the EFCC to stop what he described as “the media trial and politically motivated propaganda against Governor Yahaya Bello.
“This is why we have spent time and resources to research the allegation and request that the EFCC (if it is actually acting in the national interest) to consider the issues and address Nigerians within 48 hours. EFCC does not need to belabour itself in embarking on a media trial, but it should publish the account opening process and mandate of the Kogi State Government,” he said.
He further argued that for the account to be opened, approval should have been obtained from the Federal Ministry of Finance, Debt Management Office (DMO), as the account holders would secure resolutions of the Kogi State Executive Council and House of Assembly.
“From the ongoing, there will be a mandate of signatories to the account, rather than the propaganda and media trial, EFCC should publish the mandate and the names and bank verification numbers (BVNs) of the signatories to the account.
“Again, if the money was lodged in a fixed deposit account, EFCC can publish the certificate of deposit the bank issued to the Kogi State Government,” he stated.
He also submitted that if, for instance, the bailout fund amounted to N20b and EFCC mentioned N19.3b, but remained silent on the N666m difference, members of the public should not be expected to believe the EFCC without asking questions.
“The EFCC should explain with diligence in its media investigations and trials all the issues raised to convince Nigerians on the authenticity of its claims, as Nigerians will ask questions and will no longer accept figures being thrown around to divert attention from the real issues,” he added.