Chris Steven, Abuja
The Federal Government’s Whistle-blower policy has started yielding fruit as it has so far led to the recovery of US$151 million and 8 billion Naira in looted funds, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said.
In a statement issued in Lagos on Sunday, the Minister said the looted funds, which do not include the $9.2 million in cash allegedly owned by a former Group Managing Director of the NNPC (which was also a dividend of the whistle-blower policy), were recovered from just three sources through whistle-blowers who gave actionable information to the office of the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation.
The biggest amount of $136,676,600.51 was recovered from an account in a commercial bank, where the money was kept under an apparently fake account name, followed by 7 billion Naira and $15 million from another person and 1 billion Naira from yet another.
”When we told Nigerians that there was a primitive and mindless looting of the national treasury under the last Administration, some people called us liars. Well, the whistle-blower policy is barely two months old and Nigerians have started feeling its impact, seeing how afew people squirrelled away public funds. It is doubtful if any economy in the world will not feel the impact of such mind-boggling looting of the treasury as was experienced in Nigeria.
”Yet whatever has been recovered so far, including the $9.2 million by the EFCC, is just a tip of the iceberg,” Alhaji Mohammed said.
He appealed to Nigerians with useful information on looted funds to continue to provide the authorities with such information, saying confidentiality will be maintained with regards to the source of the information.
The Minister also reminded Nigerians of the financial reward aspect of the policy, saying ”If there is a voluntary return of stolen or concealed public funds or assets on the account of the information provided, the whistle blower may be entitled to anywhere between 2.5%(Minimum) and 5.0% (Maximum) of the total amount recovered”.