Disclosing this on its social media accounts, the anti-graft agency said it found the money at a bureau de change in Lagos state.
Earlier, while the discovery story was developing, EFCC officials live streaming developments on the agency’s Facebook page, said they were still counting the money.
The anti-graft agency earlier posted on its Facebook page: “EFCC Lagos zonal office discovers over N400 million and still counting, in an abandoned bureau de change.”
But after the money had been counted, the EFCC said in a statement: “The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Lagos zone, this (Friday) evening uncovered yet another large sum of suspected laundered money to the tune of N448,850,000 (Four hundred and forty eight million, eight hundred and fifty thousand naira) in a shop at LEGICO Shopping Plaza, Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island, Lagos.
The cash stashed in several “Ghana Must Go” bags were in N500 and N1000 denominations, hidden in a shop possibly awaiting conversion into foreign currency.
“Acting on information provided by a whistle blower, operatives of the Commision swooped on the shopping complex and sought the identity of the owners of two shops, LS 64 and LS 67 which were under lock and key. The shops had signages of Bureau de Change however, Inquries about the owner of shop 64 revealed he had not been seen for a long time. Witnesses also claimed the shop had not been opened for businesss for close to two years. Several calls were put to the owner of shop 67 but there was no response.
“Rhe building manager was called upon to provide access to both shop. No money was found in shop 67, but in shop 64, heaps of loaded “Ghana Must Go” bags were discovered on the floor of the shop. When they were unzipped, they were found to contain bundles of naira notes totalling N448,850,000.
Traders interviewed at the premises claimed they were not aware such money was housed in there, as the place hardly opens for business.
“The Commission is investigating the matter”
Meanwhile, more than three weeks after it was recovered at the Kaduna airport, no one has come forward as of Friday evening to claim ownership of the N49 million intercepted by operatives of the EFCC.
Operatives of the anti-corruption commission from its Kaduna zonal office had on Tuesday, March 14, intercepted five bags containing the sum at the airport, which had been seeing more traffic following diversion of flights as a result of the closure of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
A source said while investigations are on the identity of the owners, the EFCC is working on a number of theories, one of which is that the money in small and medium denominations was meant for trafficking to some West African countries.
Investigations by Saturday Tribune revealed that 24 days after it was intercepted, nobody is yet to lay claim to the cash, which sources said is in EFCC’s custody.
According to an EFCC source, who spoke with Saturday Tribune on condition of anonymity, the money definitely belonged to some powerful persons, who wanted to use another person to ferry it out of the county.
The source informed that somebody definitely accompanied the bags of money to the airport, “they were alerted to the presence of EFCC operatives by other security personnel who provided means for them to escape”
This, the source told Saturday Tribune, led to a misunderstanding between the operatives of the anti-graft agency, who were acting on intelligence report and the other security agencies at the airport.
“The money was definitely not a ghost. Someone brought it to the airport that day. The person was meant to take it out on a flight but was alerted about the presence of EFCC operatives by some personnel of other security agencies at the airport that day.
“Unlike what happened in the case of the 33 suitcases brought into the country in the 1980s by some powerful military personnel.
Upon search, the five bags were discovered by the operatives to contain fresh crispy Naira notes of N200 denomination in 20 bundles, which add up to N40 million.
Another 180 bundles of N50 notes, totalling N9 million were also found in the bags, which were said to have had seal purportedly emanating from the Nigeria Security Printing and Minting (NSPM) Plc.