The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has recovered N449, 000, 860 hidden in an abandoned shop in Lagos.
An official of the EFCC who was actively involved in the investigation told our correspondent that the commission received a tip off from a whistleblower that a huge sum of money was hidden in a shop located in the Nigerian Air Force complex, Legico, Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island, Lagos.
The detective told our correspondent that on getting to the shop, operatives were surprised to see such a volume of cash.
He said investigation revealed that the shop belonged to a Bureau De change operator but the owner had yet to be ascertained as of the time of filing this report.
It was learnt that the chairman of the bureau De change association was immediately invited to the Ikoyi office of the commission.
The chairman was said to have revealed to detectives that the shop had not been opened in over two years.
The detective said, “We received information from a whistleblower regarding a huge sum of money stashed in an office in Nigerian Air Force complex at Legico bus stop.
“We swiftly moved in but we were overwhelmed by the amount of cash that we saw. It took us several hours to count it but the total sum is N449, 000, 860.
“We were told that the office belonged to a bureau de change operator but the owner never showed up so we invited the chairman of the BDC association.
“The chairman said he didn’t know that there was such a huge amount of money kept in the shop. He said to the best of his knowledge, the shop had not been opened in two years.”
It was learnt that based on the Federal Government’s whistleblower policy, the whistleblower is expected to receive not less than N20m as reward.
Meanwhile, it was learnt that with this fresh recovery, the amount of raw cash the EFCC had recovered based on tips from whistleblowers exceeds N4bn while the amounts traced to private accounts remain unknown.
The commission had in February recovered over $9m in cash from a former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Andrew Yakubu, while over N40m was recovered at the Kaduna airport last month.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, had said actionable information given by whistleblowers to the office of the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation led to the recovery of the looted funds.
He said the looted funds do not include the $9.2m cash allegedly owned by Yakubu.
“The biggest amount of $136.7m was recovered from an account in a commercial bank, where the money was kept under an apparently fake account name.”
“This was followed by N7bn and $15m from another person and N1bn from yet another,” he said.