Exposed: $151m, N8b in fictitious bank accounts
Suspects give up cash to Fed Govt
Whistle-blowing is yielding bountiful fruits, with the Federal Government recovering about $136,676,600.51 from a fictitious account. The unnamed owner of the account is suspected to be a public officer.
The suspect is believed to be a front for laundering slush funds, The Nation learnt yesterday.
Two others voluntarily refunded $15million, N7billion and N1billion after some whistle-blowers exposed the huge deposits in their accounts.
The deposits are suspected to be proceeds of crime.According to a source, who pleaded not to be named, the recovery followed information given to the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation( OAGF).
The source said: “The government’s policy on whistle-blowing has recorded some achievements. For instance, the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation was alerted to about $136,676,600.51in a fictitious account in a bank. When the government moved in, the bearer of the fake account could not explain the source of the cash.
“We are suspecting that the purported owner is a public officer who might have either been part of a syndicate or serving as a front to launder funds.
“But the office of the AGF has all the details of those involved in keeping these suspicious funds.
“There was the case of another person who had $15million and N7billion in his account. These funds were suspected to be proceeds of crime. Again, some whistle-blowers who knew about these huge deposits alerted the government.
“The third person could not explain how he came about N1billion.
“Interestingly, all the suspects willingly gave up these slush funds.”Asked of what will become of the three suspects, the source added: “Only the AGF can clarify the next step in line with the law and the policy on whistle-blowing.”
A statement by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the “whistle-blower policy has started yielding fruit as it has so far led to the recovery of US$151 million and N8billion in looted funds”.
The minister said: “The looted funds, which do not include the $9.2 million in cash allegedly owned by a former Group Managing Director of the NNPC (which was also a dividend of the whistle-blower policy), 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 N7billion and $15million from another person and N1billion from yet another.
‘’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 $9.8million by the EFCC, is just a tip of the iceberg.”
Mohammed urged Nigerians with information on looted funds to continue to provide the authorities with such information.
He said confidentiality will be maintained with regards to the source of the information.
The minister also reminded Nigerians of the financial reward aspect of the policy.
‘’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,’’ Mohammed said.
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