N20bn bailout fund: Kogi demands apology from EFCC

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Kogi State Government on Friday denanded an apology from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for “embarrassing” the state by dragging it to court over a N20 billion bailout fund.

The commission had on Friday told the court that it was no interested in pursuing the case after it said the state government had given its commitment to return the money to the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The Commissioner for Information, Hon. Kingsley Fanwo, stated the government’s demand at the presentation of awards to senior journalists that participated in the GYB Essay Competition for Nigeria’s Political and Crime Editors in Lagos.

He said it was unfortunate that the commission ignored thorough explanations by the state government on the matter but chose to heed allegations from “hired guns.”

He said it was unfortunate that the commission chose to believe allegations that it fixed N19 billion out of the money in a new generation bank.

He challenged the commission to exhibit professionalism in its affairs.

 

He said the state government had yet to receive details of the judgment.

Fanwo declared that the state government would address the media after receiving the Certified True Copy of the judgment.

The commission withdrew the suit seeking the forfeiture of N20billion bailout funds granted to the Kogi State Government by a new generation bank.

The money, which was meant for the payment of Kogi workers, was alleged to have been domiciled in an interest-yielding account with the bank by officials of the state government.

Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke granted the order of withdrawal on Friday sequel to a motion filed and argued by EFCC counsel, Mr Kemi Pinheiro, SAN, leading Mr Rotimi Oyedepo.

Pinheiro listed six grounds upon which the judge granted the prayer, adding that “the EFCC is a responsible body”.

One of the grounds was that questions resulting in the commencement of the suit had been clarified, and an intention had been shown to return the sum of N19,333,333,333.36 to the Central Bank of Nigeria.

At the event, Augustine Avwode, Editor of The Point Newspaper won the grand prize of N2 million.

The first runner-up was Dr. Emmanuel Oladesu of The Nation newspaper while Mrs. Chiemelie Ezeobi of Thisday Newspaper was the second runner-up.

Oladesu clinched N1m while Ezeobi went home with N500,000.

Five consolation prize winners were given N200,000 each.

Representative of the Governor and Secretary to the State Government, Mrs. Folashade Arike Ayoade, commended the participants for showing interest in the competition.

She urged them to continue to project the state and Nigeria in general in a positive light.

She also said the competition would continue next year, adding that Governor Bello strongly believes in championing media excellence and the unity of Nigeria.

In his acceptance speech, the grand prize winner said “this is a very very good thing that our able governor has started. I’m encouraged and I know that every other person is encouraged. I hope others will emulate this good thing that our able governor has started.”

 

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