…However, Minister assures payment this month
The controversy trailing the delay in settling the whistleblower that provided intelligence for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to swoop on the Osborne Towers in Ikoyi, Lagos on April 7, 2017 is getting messier over delays in paying due percentage to informant.
However, the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, on Sunday announced that the whistle-blower would be paid this month in a statement issued by her Special Adviser, Media and Communications, Mr. Oluyinka Akintunde made available to Business Hilights Abuja Bureau chief.
While denying claims that the government had withheld any fund due to any whistle-blower, she averred that the delay was caused by the administrative procedures that must be fulfilled before such funds are released.
Already, analysts are looking at about N325m as what is due to the whistle-blower even though the informant’s claims that the total amount so recovered is in the region of N15b contrary to N13b revealed by the government.
The terse statement said in parts: “The attention of the Honourable Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, has been drawn to media reports surrounding the payment to a whistleblower, who provided the tips that led to the recovery of funds stashed away in a property in Ikoyi, Lagos State.
“The Honourable Minister wishes to state unequivocally that the Federal Government has not withheld any fund due to any whistleblower.
“The ministry has in place detailed procedures for processing payments due under the whistleblower policy.
“The procedures were designed to prevent abuse and legal disputes and to ensure protection of the information providers.
“These procedures include an application by the agency who recovered the funds including evidence of the recovery, confirmation that there are no pending legal issues on the recovery, verification of the identity of the information provider, calculation of the amount payable and computation of relevant taxes.
“It must be stated also that payments are made in monthly batches to ensure control and to protect the identity of information providers.
“To date, over 20 of such persons have been paid. From available records, the payment due on Ikoyi is among those being processed in the November batch, which will be released within the current month.”
Adeosun restated that the whistle blowing policy of the Federal Government remains one of the current administration’s successful initiatives and that the government was fully committed to ensuring that all those who responded to the policy and partnered with it in the recovery effort are paid in full and most importantly have their identity protected.
Business Hilights recalls that the informant had provided intelligence that led to the recovery of $43.5 million, £27,800 and N23.2 million stashed in an apartment on Osborne Towers in Ikoyi, Lagos on April 7.
First; the Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, claimed on Thursday in Vienna, Austria that the whistleblower who led the Commission in recovering the loot has been paid his 5 percent commission.
Second; the whistleblower reacted to the claim by the Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, through his counsel, Yakubu Galadima, on Friday that he has not been paid by the Commission. He lamented bitterly on how he has been abandoned by the EFCC, who has not fulfilled its promise, which also include providing him security.
Galadima said “The EFCC does not even know the whereabouts of my client. He is presently living from hand to mouth having been abandoned by the Commission.
“We have written to the President and even to Magu himself and we are yet to get any form of response. I even sent Magu an SMS this morning debunking the allegation that my client has been paid. But as I speak, I am yet to get a response from him,” Galadima said.
Thirdly; Spokesman of the commission, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, said in a statement on Friday that Magu never said the whistleblower had been paid his compensation as being insinuated in a section of the media.
Uwujaren had quoted the EFCC acting chairman as saying in Vienna, Austria, that the Ikoyi whistleblower was now a millionaire by “virtue of the percentage he is 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 reportedly told a United Nations anti-corruption conference.
Fourthly; Galadima also reportedly said that the recovered amount “was N17 billion and not the N13 billion being declared’’.
However, Uwujaren said; “What Magu said at the 7th Session of the Council of State Parties to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption in Vienna, Austria, was that citizens should be encouraged to embrace whistle blowing because of the incentives attached.
Several Nigerians who barred their minds on the serial development cautioned the Ministry of Finance to always do the needful right on time to avoid such embarrassing scenarios that may even lead to the exposure of the whistle-blower.