The Federal Government says it has made multiple recoveries of looted funds totaling 151 million dollars and eight billion naira through the ‘Whistle-Blower Policy’.
The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, in a statement on Sunday, said the recovered funds does not include the 9.2 million Dollar found with the former GMD of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Andrew Yakubu, adding that it was a recovery made through whistle blowing.
Giving the break down, the Minister said the biggest money recovered is 136, 676, 600.51 million Dollars from an account in a commercial bank, where the money was allegedly kept under a fake account name.
According to the Minister, another 7 billion Naira and 15 million dollars were recovered from a second person, while yet another 1 billion Naira was gotten from a third suspect.
Although the Minister did not mention the actual persons involved, he said the government is making tremendous progress through the Whistle-Blower Policy.
The Minister in his words 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”.
The Minister insists that whatever has been recovered including the 9.2 million Dollars from the former NNPC GMD by the EFCC is just a tip of the iceberg
He appealed to Nigerians to give useful information on looted funds to continue to provide the authorities with such information, saying confidentiality would be maintained with regards to the source of the information.
Mr Mohammed 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”.
FG Sets Up Asset Recovery Committee
In November 2016, The Nigerian government set up an inter-agency Presidential Committee on Asset Recovery (PCAR), as part of efforts to strengthen the ongoing fight against corruption.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, gave a hint of the move while meeting with the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for West Africa, Mr Mohammed Chambas.
Mr Mohammed also called for the support of the UN in fighting corruption, which he said was as dangerous and devastating as the fight against insecurity.
He disclosed that the PCAR, which was set up on the recommendation of the Presidential Advisory Council Against Corruption, will over-sight the anti-corruption agenda and coordinate asset recovery process.
Mr Mohammed said the PCAR, which is headed by the Vice President, was coordinating the collation and categorisation of recovered assets from 2015-2016; verifying the records and status of physical assets such as buildings recovered under previous administration and setting up the framework for Management of Recovered Stolen Asset.
He stated that the move was to avoid re-looting and mismanagement of asset as was experienced in the past.
The minister further announced that an asset register for recovered stolen assets and other government assets has been created to avoid a situation where former or even serving public officers carry away government assets like vehicles and computers among others.
He said that part of the mandate of the committee was to prevent the stealing of assets which sometimes occur in multiples.