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Analysts divided on whether Whistle-blower’ll get their 5% in naira or dollar

The new policy of Whistle-blower has started yielding bumper results is no more news. What is now an issue of debate by observers is whether the blowers will be paid their five per cent in naira or the particular foreign currency they aided in the recovery.

Though the prevailing policy was very silent on currency differences, majority of Nigerians who barred their minds with Business Hilights argued that each whistle-blower must be paid on the particular currency he or she gave intelligence for the recovery.

According to them, the only way to deepen the efficacy of the policy is to pay the five per cent on the particular currency so recovered and not in naira equivalent or even paying them according to official rates.

By calculations, over N150mn may be paid out to all the people involved in the recovery according to their respective intelligences.

It would be recalled that the policy was a creation of the Ministry of Finance introduced late last year.

Analysts say the policy would have been introduced earlier than then.

Weekend, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed in a statement revealed that the policy had so far led to the recovery of over $151m (N46bn) and N8bn in looted funds.

He said the looted funds, which did not include the $9.2m in cash allegedly owned by a former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mr. Andrew Yakubu, were recovered from just three sources through whistle-blowers who he said gave actionable information to the office of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami(SAN).

Mohammed who averred that the $9.2m cash and others, were also dividends of the whistle-blower policy, said that the biggest amount of $136,676,600.51 (N42bn) was recovered from an account in a commercial bank, where he said money was kept under an apparently fake account name.

In his submission, this was followed by N7bn and $15m from another person and N1bn from yet another.

“’When we told Nigerians that there was a primitive and mindless looting of the national treasury under the last administration, some people called us liars.

“Well, the whistle-blower policy is barely two months old and Nigerians have started feeling its impact, seeing how a few people squirrelled away public funds.

“It is doubtful if any economy in the world will not feel the impact of such mind-boggling looting of the treasury as was experienced in Nigeria.

“Yet, whatever has been recovered so far, including the $9.2m by the EFCC, is just a tip of the iceberg.’’

The minister further appealed to Nigerians with useful information on looted funds to continue to provide the authorities with such information, saying confidentiality would be maintained with regard to the source of the information.

However, the minister introduced a new angle to the policy which was originally contained in the policy document saying “If there is a voluntary return of stolen or concealed public funds or assets on the account of the information provided, the whistle-blower may be entitled to between 2.5 per cent (minimum) and 5 per cent (maximum) of the total amount recovered.”

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