A vacation judge sitting at the Federal High Court in Lagos has placed a no debit order on the Kogi State salary bailout account number 0073572696 domiciled with a commercial bank over a N20 billion loan allegedly obtained from the bank by the state.
Justice Tijjani Garba Ringim, who placed the restriction on the account, directed that it would be in place until the conclusion of investigation or possible prosecution of suspected persons by the chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The anti-graft agency had filed the ex-parte application, which led to the order, in line with section 44(2) of the constitution and section 34(1) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Act and under the inherent jurisdiction of the court.
A lawyer, Aliyu Muhammed, who represented the EFCC in the matter, informed the court that the order was necessary so as to preserve the rest and abate further dissipation of the funds in the account.
While arguing the application, Muhammed informed the judge that the N20 billion loan meant to augment the salary payment and running cost of the state government was kept in an interest yielding account with the bank.
The lawyer also claimed that instead of using the money for the purpose it was meant for, Sterling Bank Plc acting on the instruction of the Kogi State Government transferred the money from the loan account and placed it in a fixed deposit account.
He further alleged that Sterling Bank Plc is yet to present any credible evidence to show that the facility is well secured.
After listening to Mohammed, Justice Ringim ordered the EFCC to publish the order in a national newspaper and make a quarterly report to the court on the progress of its investigation.
Justice Ringim then adjourned the matter to December 1, 2021 for the report of Investigation.
The anti-graft agency in its 13-paragraph supportive affidavit, deposed to by a member of a team of investigators attached to the chairman Monitoring Unit Lagos office, stated that the commission received a credible and direct intelligence which led to the tracing of funds reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities warehoused in account No. 0073572696 domiciled in Sterling Bank, Plc with the name Kogi State Salary Bailout Account.