Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke of the Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday fixed October 15 to hear all applications filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Kogi State government on an alleged fraudulent transaction on a N20 billion loan obtained from bank by the state.
Justice Aneke, who is now in charge of the case, fixed the date after counsel to the Kogi State government, Prof Sam Erugo, asked the court for an adjournment to enable him study the counter affidavit filed by the EFCC against the processes filed by his client.
The then vacation judge, Justice Tijjani Ringim, had on August 31, 2021, granted an ex-parte application filed by the anti-graft agency for an interim forfeiture of the sum of N19, 333, 333, 333.36 billion, said to be warehoused in Bank account number 0073572696.
The EFCC had through one of its counsel, Abbas Muhammed, informed the court that the application was brought pursuant to 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 and that the interim order was necessary so as to preserve the ‘Res’ and abate further dissipation of the funds in the account.
The commission had supported its ex-parte application with a 13-paragraph affidavit deposed by a member of a team of investigators attached to the Chairman Monitoring Unit Lagos office of the EFCC.
The commission had stated in the said affidavit that it 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.
It had also alleged that the commission acted on the said intelligence and assigned the same to the chairman Monitoring Unit, where it was discovered that on April 1, 2019 the management of Sterling Bank Plc approved an offer of N20,000,000,000.00 bailout loan facility for Kogi State Government.