(Reuters) â€“ Nigeria has recovered some $151 million and eight billion naira ($26.32 million) in stolen state funds in less than two months as part of an anti-graft drive, the government said on Sunday.
The West African nation launched late in December a whistleblower scheme entitling those who help find stolen assets to up to five percent of the recovered sums, part of a drive by President Muhammadu Buhari to root out endemic corruption.
Sundayâ€™s announcement was the first since the middle of last year to give an official figure for recovered assets.
â€śThe lootedÂ funds â€¦ were recovered from just three sources through whistleblowers who gave actionable information to theÂ office of the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation,â€ť the Information Ministry said in a statement.
â€śThe biggest amount of $136,676,600.51 was recovered from an account inÂ a commercial bank, where the money was kept under an apparently fake account name,â€ť it added. The other recovered funds were in dollars or naira.
On Friday, Nigeriaâ€™s anti-corruption watchdog said it had seized $9.8 million in cash from the former head of the state oil company NNPC, a recovery also made possible under the whistleblower programme.
Graft, particularly in the oil sector on which Nigeria relies, has taken large sums from the countryâ€™s coffers.
Buhari rode to victory in 2015 on an anti-corruption platform after widespread anger at the plundering of the state under his predecessor Goodluck Jonathan.
But some have criticized the current administrationâ€™s efforts as ineffective and called it a witch hunt against Jonathanâ€™s supporters.
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