Over $43 million in US currency was found in an upscale apartment in Lagos by the Nigerian anti-corruption unit after responding to a tip about a “haggard” woman dressed in “dirty clothes” moving bags in and out of the apartment. The agency also found 23.2 million Nigerian nairas and $27,800 British pounds at the scene.
Nigerian law enforcement suspects the funds are tied to unlawful activity, but there have been no arrests in connection with the money at this time.
As reported by CNN, the country has struggled with corruption for decades. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the anti-corruption unit involved with the find, was created to combat the issue. Last week, the agency found approximately 250 million nairas in a market in Lagos and an additional 448 million naira at a shopping center.
After the discovery was made, the EFCC released a statement discussing the scene. It described how cash was found in “two of the four bedroom apartment,” one of which held “three fire proof cabinets disguisedly hidden behind wooden panels of the wardrobe.”
The money was said to be “neatly arranged” when it was found.
The recent successes are being credited to the creation of new whistleblowing policies that went into effect this past December. Individuals with information can connect with government agencies through a secure portal. If the information leads to the recovery of stolen funds, the whistleblower can receive compensation ranging from 2.5% to 5% of the amount recovered.
Social media was soon awash with jokes regarding the found funds.
I think this is mine, I got a legimate looking email a few weeks back about it. Please contact pic.twitter.com/NAgj6Kdixr
— Iwan Hughes (@IwanHughes2001) April 16, 2017
Maybe I should email that Nigerian prince back, after all 🤔
— Kristina Montesano (@ohthatkristina) April 14, 2017
Okay, okay, my credit card number is 4053 2311 3441 2211, so please do go ahead and release the funds to my bank account.
— The Ottawa Ross (@ottaross) April 16, 2017
Was this the take of the prince who e-mails EVERYBODY?
— Bill Gallant (@beelaker) April 15, 2017
As reported by ABC News, President Muhammadu Buhari suspended Nigeria’s intelligence chief after the National Intelligence Agency claimed the money. The investigation regarding the source of the funds and whether any illegal activities were involved in its accrual are still ongoing.
Nigeria is currently ranked 136 out of 176 countries based on the Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index.