NIGERIA: Three Whistle-blowers to Get N3bn For Providing Information On Recovered Loot

Three whistle-blowers will get N1.5 billion and N3 billion for the information they provided in recovery of looted funds totalling over N60 billion.
The Federal Government is to pay between N1.5 billion and N3 billion to three whistle-blowers for their respective roles in the recovery of looted funds totalling over N60 billion.
The amount represents 2.5 or five per cent of the $151 million (about N52.8 billion) and N8 billion recovered from three sources following information from the whistle-blowers.
It was learnt that the Federal Ministry of Finance is already working out modalities of payment to the whistle-blowers.
“The Ministry of Finance will approve a payment of between 2.5 per cent and five per cent of the recovered stolen funds to the three whistle-blowers in line with government’s whistle-blowing policy,” he said Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, yesterday, disclosed the recovery of the looted funds through a statement.
The statement, signed by his Special Adviser on Media, Mr. Segun Adeyemi, said the biggest amount of $136,676,600.51 was recovered from an account in a commercial bank, where the money was kept under a fake identity, followed by N7 billion and $15 million from another person and N1 billion from yet another.
Mohammed added that recovered funds do not include the $9.2 million retrieved from a former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Andrew Yakubu, which was also a dividend of the Federal Government’s whistle-blower policy.
Operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had, during a raid at a building in Kaduna, belonging to Yakubu last Thursday, recovered $9.2 million and an additional £72,000 from a safe.
An impeccable source told New Telegraph that the $136, 676, 600.51 was kept in a lowly rated commercial bank under an account name – Brass LNG – to avoid attracting attention.
But with concrete evi-dence from the whistleblower and after due diligence by the officials of the Ministry of Justice under the directive of the minister, Abubakar Malami (SAN), it was discovered that Brass LNG Ltd, a Lagos-based company that constructs and operates a liquefied natural gas plant, had nothing to do with the bank account and money.
Acting on information from the whistle-blower on the said account, contacted Brass LNG Ltd, which denied maintaining the said account with the bank.
“The said money was lodged in a commercial bank, which is not even among the big banks with a fictitious name ‘Brass LNG’ to deflect attention. Perhaps, the account owner knows that he would give himself up easily if he lodges the amount in one of the big commercial banks. “Officials of Brass LNG were contacted and they denied knowledge of the mon
The person who owns the money is yet to come out to claim ownership, but we know his identity as an account officer was attached to the account in which the money was deposited and the bank’s official knows the person he has been dealing with,” the source said.
The government has details of the operator of the account, but keeping his identity to avoid jeopardizing investigations.
The source added that “one of the advantages of the policy is confidentiality as counsels to the whistleblowers are the ones dealing with the government. So there is no fear over their safety.”
It was learnt that the whistle-blowers and their lawyers interfaced with the Ministry of Justice and the AGF in the recovery. Giving details on how the N60 billion was recovered, the minister said the three whistle-blowers gave actionable information to the Office of the Minister of Justice and Attorney- General of the Federation, which led to the recovery of the N60 billion. “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 whistleblower 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,” Mohammed said.
He appealed to Nigerians with 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.
He 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 per cent (minimum) and five per cent (maximum) of the total amount recovered.”
The Federal Government’s whistle-blowing policy instituted in December last year, approved payment of not more than five per cent on recovered loot for whistle-blowers that expose corruption related cases and other sharp practices.
The policy, an initiative of the Ministry of Finance and being implemented by the AGF and Minister of Justice, is aimed at consolidating the ongoing anti-corruption campaign of the present administration.
The policy is being implemented on an interim measure at the moment, pending the passage of a bill in its regard already receiving attention of the National Assembly.

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