From left: Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, EFCC Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa.

The Kogi State Government has given the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) 48 hours to apologize to the state and retract the statement that the N19.3 Billion found in the Sterling Bank account belongs to the state.

According to PM New's, EFCC on Friday disclosed that Sterling Bank has returned the above-mentioned amount to the CBN, which is reportedly Kogi salary bailout funds recovered.

According to the EFCC spokesperson, Mr Wilson Uwujaren, this was disclosed in a statement in Abuja on Friday.

Kogi State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mr Kingsley Fanwo, speaking to newsmen in Lagos on Sunday, described EFCC claims as "mischievous, false and politically motivated."

“Let it be known that the Kogi government has disbursed its bailout loans for the purpose of which it was granted as of October 2019.

“There is, therefore, no hidden bailout funds/loan’ belonging to Kogi that is capable of being returned to the CBN or frozen by an order of Court.

“The EFCC knows this, which is why it withdrew the suit is filed in Court on the bailout fund,” he said.

Fanwo further stressed that the state does not operate a fixed deposit Sterling Bank account as clarified by the bank in its letter, dated Sept 1.

“The Kogi government knows absolutely nothing about the ownership and control of the said N19.3 billion, allegedly returned to the CBN.

“The Kogi government did not also open or operate a Kogi State salary bailout fixed deposit account, No. 0073572696, where the said funds were allegedly warehoused and dissipated and now allegedly returned to the CBN,” he said.

However, Fanwo challenged EFCC to provide details of the fixed deposit account, as no one or group could operate such an account without a mandate, an agreement as to terms including tenure, interest rates and the rest.

He said the whole saga was aimed at tarnishing the rising political image of Gov. Yahaya Bello, bringing him to disrepute by portraying him as a corrupt governor or person.

“The EFCC must be mindful of how this issue will affect the fortunes of the state, shake investor confidence and the possibility of setting the people of Kogi against its government.

“Consequently, the Kogi government demands a retraction of the statement and all allegations of crimes levied against the Kogi government and its governor.

“We further demand an apology published within 48 hours from today, in one national daily and on all EFCC official and social media platforms, addressed to the governor and the entire government and people of Kogi.”

On EFCC’s claim that the sum of N666,666,666.64 was transferred from the N19.3 billion on the instruction of the Kogi government, the commissioner said that Sterling Bank had clarified that the account was not operational but was a mirror account opened for administrative purposes.

“We challenge the EFCC to produce the account mandate, account package, and the phone number and BVN of those who allegedly opened and operated the ‘Kogi State salary bailout fixed deposit account No. 0073572696’ on behalf of the state government.”

Fanwo said the EFCC should tell Nigerians who was drawing the interest from the said fixed deposit account and where the same was being paid by Sterling Bank Plc.

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