•Another N8b also
From Magnus Eze, Abuja
A few months after the Federal Government offered to pay compensation to people who give information on how looted funds would be recovered, the policy has yielded positive result, as a whopping US$151 million and N8 billion have been recovered.
Revealing this yesterday, Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the latest recovered loot, from three sources, were made possible by “actionable information given to the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice by whistle-blowers.”
He, however, said the recovered loot does not include the $9.2 million cash, also a dividend of the whistle-blower policy, retrieved from the Kaduna home of Mr. Andrew Yakubu, former Group Managing Director of the NNPC, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Mohammed, in a statement by his Special Assistant, Mr. Segun Adeyemi, said the biggest amount of $136, 676, 600.51 was recovered from an account, with ostensibly fake name, in an unnamed commercial bank, followed by N7 billion and $15 million from another person as well as N1billion from yet another person.
The minister described the amount so far recovered as a tip of the iceberg, when compared to the monumental public funds criminally looted, especially by players in the last administration.
He said: “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 a few 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.”
Mohammed appealed to Nigerians with useful information on looted funds not to hesitate providing the authorities with such information, while giving assurance that confidentiality will be maintained with regards to the source of the information.
He further 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 per cent (minimum) and 5 per cent (maximum) of the total amount recovered.”
The Federal Government had, June last year, given details of the interim report on the financial and assets recoveries made by the various government agencies from May 29, 2015 to May 25, 2016.
The details made available by the Information and Culture Minister showed that the government had recovered cash totaling N78, 325, 354, 631.82; $185,119, 584.61; 3, 508,355.46 million Pounds Sterling and 11, 250 Euros from 29 May 2015 to 25 May 2016.
Mohammed also disclosed that recoveries under interim forfeiture (cash and assets) during the period totalled N126, 563, 481, 095.43; $9, 090, 243, 920.15; 2, 484,447.55 Pounds Sterling and 303, 399.17 Euros.
The statement then stated that the details, based on the interim report on the financial and assets recoveries made by the various government agencies, include funds awaiting return from foreign jurisdictions, amounting to $321,316,726.1; 6,900,000 Pounds and 11,826.11 Euros.
It further showed that non-cash recoveries, including farmlands, plots of land, uncompleted buildings, completed buildings, vehicles and maritime vessels during the period totaled 239.