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Kogi dares EFCC on controversial N20b bailout, demands probe report

By Seye Olumide
18 October 2021   |   4:04 am
Kogi State Government has dared the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to come out with the report of its investigations on the purported N20 billion bailout funds over which a Lagos High Court reportedly...

Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello

Kogi State Government has dared the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to come out with the report of its investigations on the purported N20 billion bailout funds over which a Lagos High Court reportedly froze the state’s account in August.

In a statement yesterday, Kogi State Commissioner for Information, Kingsley Fanwo, insisted that the alleged sum of N19,333,333,333.36, which a commercial bank had undertaken to the EFCC to transfer to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), “does not belong to Kogi government” and that the state did not enter into any agreement, either with the bank or EFCC, to return any bailout fund to the apex bank as being portrayed.

The EFCC had, on Friday, withdrawn its suit seeking the forfeiture of N20 billion bailout funds, purportedly owned by Kogi.

Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke granted the order of withdrawal, sequel to a motion filed and argued by EFCC counsel, Kemi Pinheiro, leading Rotimi Oyedepo.

But the government kicked against the panic withdrawal by the EFCC, challenging the anti-graft body to make public its investigation on the matter.

Fanwo accused the EFCC of hiding inalienable facts and embarking on a face-saving mission with its statement on the withdrawal. He also appealed to Nigerians to ask the commission in whose custody the commission found a part of the fund said to have been dissipated.

The commissioner said: “It is our belief that the unceremonious withdrawal of the suit by the EFCC without informing the court of the facts stated in paragraph three above, is a deliberate and face-saving effort by the EFCC, which has, throughout this episode, engaged in very unprofessional and unethical conduct, all in a bid to ‘nail’ at all costs, the Kogi government and tarnish its image.”

He alleged that the EFCC violated an earlier order of the court, as it failed to report its findings to the court.

“Rather, it unceremoniously withdrew the suit, as it peddled falsehood to the court and the public. It is our belief that the unceremonious withdrawal of the suit by the EFCC, without informing the court of the facts stated in paragraph three above, is a deliberate and face-saving effort by the EFCC, which has throughout this episode desperately tried to ‘nail’ at all cost, the Kogi State Government and tarnish its image,” Fanwo said.

He said citizens of Kogi and indeed Nigerians at large should rather ask the EFCC to publish on its official platforms the report of its investigation as to the ownership of the said sum of N19,333,333,333.36 and the whereabouts of the sum of N666,666,666.64, which they alleged had been dissipated.