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Nigeria's whistleblower initiative yields recovery of over $176m


The Nigerian government reported over the weekend that its whistleblower policy announced last December has began yielding fruits.

A statement from the Ministry of Information and Culture disclosed that so far looted funds amounting to $151m and 8bn naira ($25.4m) had been recovered.

The biggest amount recovered was $136,676,600.51 from an account in a commercial bank, where the money was kept under an apparently fake account name, the statement said.

It added that other bumper recoveries were 7 billion Naira and $15 million from another person and 1 billion Naira from yet another. The current recovery figure does not take into account about $9.8m seizure by the country’s anti-graft outfit last week in northern State of Kaduna.

“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,’‘ the Information and Culture Minister Lai Mohammed said.

The Minister urged citizens to continue providing information assuring that confidentiality will be maintained in with regards the source of information.

According to terms of the policy, if there is a voluntary return of stolen funds or assets on the account of information provided, the whistleblower may be entitled to between 2.5% and 5% of the amount recovered.

Muhammadu Buhari was voted into power on the back of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2015. He campaigned on the fight against corruption, security especially the fight against Boko Haram and reviving the economy in the face of the oil price slump.

Since his coming into office, several top officials of the erstwhile government have been arrested and hurled before the courts. The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) claim the cases are mere witch-hunting, accusations the government denies.

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