The Court of Appeal, Abuja Judicial Division, has dismissed the appeal filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, challenging the decision of the Kogi State High Court that it has jurisdiction to try the defamation suit instituted against the Commission by the State Government over the purported N20 Billion bailout fund.
The Court of Appeal in a ruling delivered on 18th May, 2023 in Appeal No. CA/ABJ/CV/290/2022, agreed with the Kogi State Government that the suit was properly commenced at the High Court of Kogi State, and therefore Ordered the EFCC to go back to the High Court of Kogi State to file their defence. Contrary to a false narrative in some sections of the media, the appeal has nothing to do with Ali Bello, as he was neither a party to the appeal nor joined in the appeal.
The appeal is the defamation suit instituted by the Kogi State Government against the EFCC, Sterling Bank Plc and Central Bank of Nigeria in appeal No. CA/ ABJ/290/2022 over claims by the EFCC that Kogi State Government kept the sum of N 20 Billion in an interest yielding account.
With the victory of Kogi State Government in the appeal filed by EFCC, the anti-graft agency has therefore failed to prove its case against the government of Kogi State.
The Court of Appeal asked the EFCC to go back and file its defence on the merit to the defamation suit, which seems to have been avoided since 2021.
The EFCC was challenging the decision of the High Court of Kogi State to assume jurisdiction over the suit. Kogi State Government was represented by M.Y. Abdullahi, SAN, F.O. Ekpa,Esq, while Kemi Pinhero, SAN and Jubrin Okutepa, SAN, represented the EFCC.