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Sterling Bank Plc Indicted In 20 Billion Naira Scam



Sterling Bank
Sterling Bank Plc is currently being trailed by another messy controversy.
Emerging information has it that the lender colluded with the Kogi State government to divert monies meant to salary bailout funds to an interest-yielding account.
The deal between the duo became public knowledge after a counsel at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), told a court that a N20 billion Naira loan meant to augment the salary payment and running cost of the State Government was subsequently diverted to an interest yielding fixed deposit account domiciled at Sterling Bank Plc.
The counsel further told the court that Sterling Bank Plc acted on the instruction of the Kogi State Government while transferring the said funds.
Confirming the position of the counsel, a deponent confirmed that on June 19, 2019, the Kogi State Government, Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Office of the Honourable Commissioner, applied for a credit facility of Twenty Billion Naira N 20, 000,000,000, with an interest rate of 9 percent for a tenure of 240 months from Sterling Bank Plc.
He added that the said facility was meant to augment the salary payment and running cost of the State Government.
Further, he said that on June 26, 2019, the credit facility offer was accepted vide a memorandum of acceptance signed by His Excellency, Yahaya Bello, the Executive Governor of Kogi State, Asiwaju Asiru Idris, the Commissioner of Finance Kogi State, and one Alhaji Momoh Jibrin, Accountant General, Kogi State.
The deponent further stated that prior to the said application for the loan, Kogi State Government on 19th June, 2019 vide a letter to the Manager Sterling Bank Plc, Lokoja applied for an account opening in the bank with the name Kogi State Salary Bailout Account with Alhaji Momoh Jubril, Accountant General of the State and Elijah Evinemi Ag. Director Treasury as the signatories to the said account.
He further stated the following: “That upon the opening of the said account with No. 0072969301, Sterling Bank Plc disbursed salary intervention loan to the tune of N20,000,000,000.00 to the account.
“That rather than used the intervention funds for the purpose for which it was granted, the State Government proceeded to open a fix deposit account with number 0073572696.
“That on the 25 day of July 2019 Sterling Bank Plc acting on the instruction of the Kogi State Government transferred the money from the loan account and placed same on the aforementioned fixed deposit account.
“That the said account received the sum of Twenty Billion Naira, (N20, 000,000,000) on the 25th July 2019.”
Findings by revealed that as of the 1st day of April 2021 the balance of the said fixed deposit account had reduced to N19, 333, 333, 333.36 billion, as the sum of N666,666,666.64 had been deducted from the said funds.
Shockingly, the debit on the account was not used for the payment of salary, and neither of the parties have been able to clarify the ambiguity in the account.
Justifying the need to freeze the account, the deponent said that freezing the nominated accounts was the best way of preserving it.
To avoid the balance of the account from further depreciation, Justice Tijjani Garba Ringim ordered the freezing of the account.
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