The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has confirmed the receipt of N19.3 billion that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) recovered from the Kogi Salary Bailout Account ‘hidden’ in Sterling Bank.
EFCC Head of Media, Wilson Uwujaren, made the announcement in a statement Friday night.
Uwujaren said the development puts to rest “the campaign of misinformation and unconscionable denials by the Kogi State government that no fund was recovered from its bailout account.”
The CBN in a letter with ref: DFD/DIR/CON/EXT/01/099 informed EFCC Chairman (EFCC) Abdulrasheed Bawa that it had received the money.
It reads in part: “We refer to your letter dated November 5, 2021 with Ref. No: CR:3000/EFCC/LS/CMU/REC-STE/VOL.4/047 on the above subject and wish to confirm the details of the receipt of the amount as stated below: Bank: Sterling Bank Plc; Amount: N19, 333,333,333; Date of receipt: 04 November, 2021.”
Uwujaren said the return was in compliance with the October 15, 2021 order of a Federal High Court in Ikoyi directing the unfreezing of the account to enable Sterling Bank to remit the balance to the CBN.
Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke gave the order pursuant to an application filed by the EFCC.
The commission earlier told the court that Sterling Bank, where the account was domiciled, acknowledged the existence of the said account housing N19,333,333,333.
On August 31, 2021, Justice Tijani Garba Ringim, a vacation Judge, ordered the freezing of the account, following an ex-parte application filed by the EFCC.
The agency explained that detectives swung into action after “credible and direct intelligence”.
EFCC said the information led to the tracing of the funds “reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities in account No. 0073572696 domiciled in Sterling Bank with the name Kogi State Salary Bailout Account”.
“The transfer has put paid to any further controversy regarding source and ownership of the funds and most importantly, aborted the funds dissipation ” Uwujaren added.