Sterling Bank has dismissed reports that the Kogi state government operates a fixed deposit account with the lender.
Recall that a court order had directed the immediate freezing of one of the bank accounts belonging to the Kogi State government with immediate effect.
A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos State, presided over by Justice Tijjani Ringim gave the order on Tuesday based on an ex-parte application brought before it by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
According to details of the case obtained by Naija News, the Kogi State government had in 2019, approached Sterling bank with a N20 billion loan request expected to be channeled towards augmenting the payment of salaries and wages to workers and offset other running costs.
The loan was processed and granted by the bank but according to the EFCC, instead of the state government to channel it to the expected use, it instead lodged the said amount in a fixed, interest-bearing account still with Sterling bank.
Reacting in a letter addressed to the commissioner of finance, budget and economic planning, Sterling Bank said Kogi state government does not operate a fixed deposit account within its company.
The bank said there is no mandate from the state government requesting the creation of a fixed account.
The letter reads: “We are equally surprised and dismayed at the media’s narration of the events surrounding the transactions referenced and are disheartened at the characterization implied in these narrations.”
“As an ethical and law abiding organization, we are confident that our conduct on these accounts and related transactions are fully beyond reproach, and are cooperating fully with the authorities in their inquiries on the Kogi State bailout accounts.
“With this correspondence, we wish to reaffirms Sterling’s commitment to upholding and maintaining the highest standards of professional conduct to your honorable self, the government and the people of Kogi State.
“The Kogi State government does not currently operate or maintain a fixed deposit account with Sterling Bank.
“There is no mandate letter from the Kogi State government to open account number 0073572696 with Sterling.
“Sterling Bank account 0073572696 is an internal (mirror) account operated by the Bank for purposes of managing the Kogi state bailout facility.”
According to Sterling Bank, the salary in the Kogi bailout accounts as at August 31 include: Kogi state bailout account 1 (0072969301) #NilBalance; Kogi state salary bailout account 2 (0073522756) N999,190.50; Kogi state government salary account (0073499012) N44,816,195.24.
Source: Naija News