The Central Bank of Nigeria has acknowledged the receipt of N19.3bn recovered by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission from the Kogi State salary bailout account domiciled in Sterling Bank Plc.
The apex bank in a letter referenced. DFD/DIR/CON/EXT/01/099 and dated November 9, 2021, informed the EFCC Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, that it had received the money.
The letter read 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, 333,333.36; Date of receipt: 04 November, 2021.”
A statement on Friday by the EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, indicated that the return of the money to the CBN was in compliance with the October 15, 2021 order of Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, directing the unfreezing of the Kogi State salary bail-out account to enable Sterling Bank to remit the balance in the account to the apex bank.
The commission had told the court that the management of Sterling Bank Plc, where the account was domiciled, had acknowledged the existence of the said account with the staggering sum of N19.3bn.
The agency further brought to the attention of the court that “the sum of N19, 333,333,333.36 is still standing in the credit of the account frozen”, adding that “the management of Sterling Bank PIc, has, pursuant to a letter dated September 15, 2021, signed by its Managing Director, indicated intention to return the total sum of N19, 333,333,333.36 back to the Central Bank of Nigeria.”
The statement titled, ‘Hidden N19.3b Kogi State salary bailout fund returned to CBN,’ stated, “The transfer has put paid to any further controversy regarding source and ownership of the funds and most importantly, aborted the funds dissipation.”
While the controversy over the money lasted, the Kogi State government had denied ownership of the account, accusing the EFCC of embarrassing it.