The Kogi State government has threatened to take legal action against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Commissioner of Information and Communication in the state, Kingsley Fanwo, made the threat on Thursday while briefing reporters at the Kogi Liaison Office in Abuja.
He accused the EFCC of a deliberate attempt to malign the integrity of the state governor, Yahaya Bello, over an alleged N20 billion salary bailout funds said to be in fixed deposit at a commercial bank.
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The commissioner described as false and malicious the claims by the anti-graft agency that the governor did not disburse the said bailout funds released by the Federal Government in 2019 for payment of salary arrears owed civil servants in the state.
Rather, he informed reporters at the briefing that the state government disbursed the said funds since October 2019.
Fanwo’s briefing comes two days after the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court issued an order freezing the Kogi State Salary Bailout Account domiciled in Sterling Bank over a N20 billion loan obtained from the bank.
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The presiding judge, Justice Tijjani Ringim, held that the order would subsist pending the conclusion of an investigation or possible prosecution by the EFCC.
In its argument, the anti-graft agency had explained that the loan was meant to augment the payment of salary and running cost of the state.
It alleged that the state government, however, kept the money in an interest-yielding account with Sterling Bank.
The EFCC also claimed that as of April 1, 2021, the balance standing to the credit of the said fixed deposit account was N19,333,333,333.36.
It added that it was still in the process of tracing what the sum of N666,666,666.64 – a shortfall of the said sum – was used for.