By Lizzy Okoji
The Kogi Government says it will seek legal redress over allegations of mismanagement of a N20 billion bailout loan meant to augment payment of workers’ salaries.
A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on Tuesday had ordered the freezing of a bank account belonging to the Kogi Government over a N20 billion loan obtained from Sterling Bank Plc.
Justice Tijjani Garba Ringim ordered that the said account be frozen pending the conclusion of investigation or possible prosecution by the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa.
EFCC had approached the court for the order in an ex parte application brought pursuant to section 44(2) of the Constitution and section 34(1) of the EFCC Act, and under the inherent jurisdiction of the court.
But addressing a press conference in Abuja on Thursday, the Kogi Commissioner for Information, Kingsley Fanwo, rejected reports of a section of the media claiming the state government mismanaged funds belonging to the state government.
He said: ” His Excellency, Governor Yahaya Bello and his New Direction Administration in Kogi State would like to assure our citizens, partners, investors and the general public that our commitment to transparency, probity and accountability in office will remain unrivalled in the country.
” We shall continue to provide good governance and the dividends of democracy without wavering, and in spite of unholy distractions such as this one.
” We shall also continue to expand our investments in the security, unity, peace and prosperity of all our people while promoting cooperation and integration, affirmative action, youthful endeavour equality, equity and justice as the basis for our co-existence as citizens of one state and one nation.
” Sections of the media ran with the EFCC’s fantastical tales – unverified, unexamined and unchecked.
” They serially reported that the alleged funds in the alleged account was a loan sought and obtained by the Kogi State Government from Sterling Bank Plc in 2019 for the purpose of paying salaries to workers which were later deposited in a fixed deposit account upon the instruction of the Kogi State Government, and allegedly to yield interest and with parts of it dissipated for other unascertainable purposes other than payment of salaries.”
He said Kogi governor, Yahaya Bello, was the only one ever to score 100 percent in the States’ Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability programme of Nigerian states.
” We recently received commendations from the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation for being one of the very few States to have adopted the IPSAS Accrual Basis Accounting which is to enhance transparency, and accountability in financial reporting in the public sector,” the commissioner added. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
(Edited by Mufutau Ojo)