Sunday, October 24, 2021

Another whistleblower leads Nigeria to N8.4bn

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Jaafar Jaafar
Jaafar Jaafar is a graduate of Mass Communication from Bayero University, Kano. He was a reporter at Daily Trust, an assistant editor at Premium Times and now the editor-in-chief of Daily Nigerian.
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A whistle-blower has led the Nigerian government to a suspicious bank account, with no signatories, but where N8.4 billion was secretly kept.

The Nation reports on Monday that some of the money has been converted into dollars and wired abroad but the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has filed an ex parte motion to place it under temporary assets forfeiture.

According to the newspaper, a telecommunications company has gone to court, claiming ownership of the money.

The whistle-blower reportedly alerted the government to strange deposits in the ECOBANK account by some suspected government officials.

“Of the many deposits, about N8.4billion was singled out for investigation in the interim.

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A source involved in the investigation said: “A whistle-blower alerted the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, leading to the involvement of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, in the investigation.

“The probe of the account by detectives showed that the funds were routed through the account of a telecoms giant but there was no disclosure of the signatories to the account.

“Also, the list of depositors into the account was unknown but the sequence of deposits was tracked by detectives.”

The source confirmed that an ex-parte application had been filed at the Federal High Court 11 in Lagos, presided over by Justice Abdulazeez Anka, to recover the cash under temporary forfeiture.

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The matter is coming up on March 3 for hearing.

The Federal Government has hired two lawyers, John Opeyemi and Oluwafemi Aweda, to recover the funds.

Another source also privy to the investigation said the probe so far indicated that the cash paid into the account could be over N10billlion.

The minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, on February 12 said the whistle-blower policy had started yielding fruits, with the recovery of US$151 million and N8billion.

This he said excluded the $9.2 million in cash allegedly owned by a former Group Managing Director of the NNPC.

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