Suddenly piles and loads and millions upon millions of moneys are being discovered in water tanks, in dry soak aways, in unoccupied slum buildings and in stylish most expensive sky scrapers. These are not really discoveries. After all, somebody or some people put such moneys where they are being discovered. The discoveries are being made by institutions set up to combat corruption and abuse of office in high places.
The figures are mind-bugling! Fifty million US dollars. Thousands of British pounds. Billions of Nigerian naira. And Euros in their millions are here reposing in unhealthy closeness to one another.
Naturally, ordinary Nigerians marvel at the discovery of these humongous sums of money. They wonder what these sums could do to restore hospital to our empty buildings labelled hospitals. They imagine what magic they could do to our wretched motor paths, turning them instead to motor ways. And our decrepit public universities could breathe better with 21st century university equipment for teaching and research. They think of electricity, that elusive magic maker of all modern industrialised developments. They dream of portable water without which cleanliness (which is next to Godliness) is impossible. Whose moneys are these, people wish to know. Who owns sum funds. The crime busters suspect that whoever owns them is a criminal right from the word ‘go’.
These places of found moneys are not branches of banks. What is of great surprise is that nobody has link these moneys to the money-spewing kneeling victims of ritual processes that used dogs on two legs ( which is double talk for a human being to be sacrificed for money making/spewing purposes). After all we are forever glued to these television films where humans are used so that someone can have moneys galore for ever more. So, don’t look further and ask nobody who has these moneys, they belong in those fantasy tales of our horror film industry.
Perhaps proving ownership might be a little problem. They would have to bring the Babalawo as well as the aafa and the holier than thou prophet who organised the dog that was used. They would have to produce the magic process and they would then point to the money discovered as prophesied by the seeing Babalawo, the Quran reciting aafa and the prophets sing prophet. But will the courts accept these as evidence of ownership of such stupendous wealth?
While we wait for claimants to present themselves and their evidence of ownership to the courts, the Aunty-Corruption institutions are carrying the money to the government coffers where it came from in the first place. But where does it go to in the government coffers? From which ministry or para-statal does the money come from? Is it being returned there where it can then depart to fulfil its original mandate? As a general question, where are all the recovered moneys since the beginning of Aunty Corruption’s existence? Or is it a case of recovery and re-stealing a new to be hidden somewhere else until discovered by Aunty Corruption again?
Talking about making claims on these moneys, someone in whose house some ten million moneys was discovered said they are not the proceeds of corruption but the proceeds of gifts. Millions of moneys gifted to him on various occasions. Will he bring forth the generous givers of these moneys so the courts can check their bona fide? What service did I he perform to deserve gifts in millions of moneys?
The money is too much. In Chinua Achebe’s second novel NO LONGER AT EASE, a young graduate from an English university returns home and he is posted to the scholarship section of the Ministry of Education. He takes a bribe from a young lady applying for scholarship. For this he is arrested, tried and sent to prison. That was in the 1960s. Fast forward to the 21st century. Ministry officials nowadays take the whole budget for the scholarship. Finish. Who has time for little small bribe change when the whole scholarship budget is sitting there ready to be moved to a soak away nearby.
There is something we have not touched about these discoveries of so much money. Why are they being discovered now? After all these moneys were not put there yesterday. Or even the day before. These moneys are being brought to daylight because of the whistle blower. Think of the various games we play and think of the powerful instrument that the referee uses to call attention to infractions of the rules of the game. The consequence follows immediately. Foul playing is not allowed. The whistle blower is walking and working amongst us. And with enthusiasm and alacrity. This is because this whistle blower gets a percentage of the money discovered. What percentage this is depends on various circumstances which surround the moneys discovered. Even if it is just two and a half per cent of billions, it is not small money. It could be five or even ten per cent, who knows?
Those who think they have discovered a new profession in whistle blowing must be careful. The whistle grows thorns at the mouth piece. Lips hastily placed on the whistle are bloodied before the blowing can take place. It is not everybody who can be a whistle blower. It is only those who are close to the specific moneys that can blow the whistle loud and clear so that those who should hear will hear. Questions will arise. How did I you know about the place of these moneys? Did you help in placing the moneys there? Did you know the sources of the moneys when they were being placed there? You can’t come round about having some magic wand that smells out hidden moneys.
This is why the best whistle blow in the world and therefore in Nigeria today is the person who hid the money there in the first place. It is in his ultimate interest to blow the whistle himself. Like in the game of golf. You are your own referee! The ultimate whistle blower calculates that while he would not have the whole moneys, he would get a good percentage. And he will not be punished. Good business whistle blowing Nigerian style!