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Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture, says the whistle-blowing policy has started yielding results less than two months after it commenced.
He said three sources of through the help of whistleblowers have assisted the government to recover the sums of $151m and N8bn.
Mohammed said some Nigerians found it difficult to believe that there was “mindless and primitive looting of the national treasury” under the government of former President Goodluck Jonathan, but that recent revelations have proven that.
“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,” Mohammed said in a statement issued by Segun Adeyemi, his media aide.
“The federal government’s whistle-blower policy has started yielding fruit as it has so far led to the recovery of $151m and N8bn in looted funds.”
The minister said the recovered monies were not part of the $9.8m and £74, 0000 allegedly found in the house of Andrew Yakubu, former group managing director (GMD) of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
Mohammed said the monies were recovered from “sources 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 N7bn and $15m from another person and N1bn from yet another,” 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 squirreled 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 $9.2m by the EFCC, is just a tip of the iceberg.”
He appealed to Nigerians with useful information on stolen funds to continue to provide the authorities with such information, saying confidentiality would be maintained.
The minister also reminded Nigerians of the financial reward 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 whistleblower may be entitled to anywhere between 2.5 percent (minimum) and 5.0 percent (maximum) of the total amount recovered.”