By Harrison Arubu, Sandra Umeh
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says the “young man” who blew the whistle on the massive stash of money recovered from an apartment in Ikoyi, Lagos, is now a millionaire.
Acting Chairman of the commission, Mr Ibrahim Magu, stated this in Vienna, Austria, on Thursday, spokesman of the EFCC, Mr Wilson Uwujaren, said in a statement.
Uwujaren said Magu spoke at the ongoing 7th Session of the Conference of States Parties to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption.
On April 7, EFCC operatives broke into a four-bedroom apartment on Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, and pulled out $43 million, £27,800 and N23 million stashed in a wardrobe.
The commission said the discovery followed an operation triggered by a whistle blower’s alert received by its Lagos office.
Uwujaren quoted Magu as saying that the whistle blower was already a millionaire by virtue of the percentage he was officially entitled to.
“We are currently working on the young man because this is just a man who has not seen one million Naira of his own before.
“So, he is under counseling on how to make good use of the money and also the security implication.
“We don’t want anything bad to happen to him after taking delivery of his entitlement. He is a national pride”, he said.
The EFCC boss called on Nigerians who want a positive change in the country to take advantage of the whistle blowing policy announced by the government early this year.
He noted that aside from contributing to the eradication of corruption, potential whistle blowers also stood to “benefit from the illicit acquisition by the looters”.
“So, we encourage more whistle blowers to come forward with genuine information that will lead to recoveries from looters of public treasuries.
“That is part of the ways we can put an end to the looting madness in the public sector.
“When they know that they have no place to keep the loot, as all eyes are on them, they will find looting of public treasuries unattractive,” Magu said.
On June 7, a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos ordered the final forfeiture of the money to the Federal Government.
Meanwhile, Justice Saliu Saidu of a Federal High Court in Lagos has, on Thursday, ordered the temporary forfeiture to the Federal Government of Flat 7B, Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos.
The property is said to have housed the sums of 43,000 dollars, 27,800 pounds, and N23 million.
The sums were said to have been found in iron cabinets and “Ghana-Must-Go” bags in April.
The judge issued the orders following an ex parte application by the EFCC.
Before now, the anti-graft agency had mentioned the wife of the sacked Director-General of the Nigeria Intelligence Agency, Mrs Folashade Oke, as the owner of the flat.
The commission had insisted that it found out that Mrs Oke made a cash payment of 1.6 million dollars for the purchase of the flat between Aug. 25 and Sept.3, 2015.
The EFCC further argued that the woman allegedly purchased the property in the name of a company, Chobe Ventures Ltd, of which she and her son were directors.
Payments were said to have been made to Fine and Country Ltd.
The anti-graft agency explained that Mrs Oke made the cash payment in tranches of 700,000 dollars , 650,000 dollars, and 353,700 dollars, to a subsidiary of a Bureau de Change — Sulah Petroleum and Gas Ltd.
The company was said to have later converted the sums into N360 million and subsequently paid it to Fine and Country Ltd for the purchase of the property.
The judge adjourned the case until Nov. 30 for any interested party to appear and show cause why the interim forfeiture should not be a permanent forfeiture.