Sterling Bank says the Kogi state government does not operate a fixed deposit account with the lender.
The bank made this known in a letter addressed to the commissioner of finance, budget and economic planning, on Monday.The letter is in reaction to an investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on a Kogi state salary bailout account domiciled in the bank.On Tuesday, a federal high court sitting in Lagos froze a Kogi state salary bailout account domiciled in Sterling Bank Plc, over a N20 billion loan obtained from the bank.
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EFCC informed the court that the N20 billion loan meant to augment salary payment and running cost of the Kogi state government was kept in an interest-yielding fixed deposit account with Sterling Bank.The anti-graft agency said Sterling Bank Plc is yet to present any credible evidence to show that the facility is well secured.The commission, in a 13-paragraph affidavit in support of the motion, said it received credible and direct intelligence which led to the tracing of funds suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities deposited in account No. 0073572696 domiciled in Sterling Bank Plc, with the name ‘Kogi State Salary Bailout Account’.
But in the letter, Sterling Bank said Kogi state government does not operate a fixed deposit account within its company.It said there is no mandate from the state government requesting the creation of a fixed account.The bank said the account with number 0073572696 identified by the EFCC is an internal account operated for the purpose of managing the Kogi state bailout facility.“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,” the letter reads.
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.”The bank noted that 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.
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