The new whistle-blower policy of the Federal Government has so far led to the recovery of US$151 million and 8 billion Naira in looted funds, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has said.
The minister made this known in a statement issued on Sunday, adding that the said amount does not include the $9.2 million in cash allegedly owned by a former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, though he said that was also a dividend of the whistle-blower policy.
According to Mohammed, the monies “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,” he added.
The minister noted that the discoveries have authenticated the numerous claims by the All Progressives Congress, APC, which was before 2015 an opposition party in Nigeria, “that there was a primitive and mindless looting of the national treasury under the last Administration.”
“Well, the whistle-blower policy is barely two months old and Nigerians have started feeling its impact, seeing how a few people squirrelled away public funds,” he stated.
Mohammed said that it was 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,” he stressed.
The information Minister urged Nigerians with useful information on looted funds to continue to provide the authorities with such information, stressing that confidentiality will be maintained with regards to the source of the information.
He also reminded Nigerians of the financial reward aspect of the policy, which is that ”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”.