Eniola Akinkuotu, Abuja
The Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), says the Federal Government does not want the whistle-blower who informed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission of the N13bn in an Ikoyi apartment to run mad.
Sagay said the government believed he needed to be adequately counselled and this was the reason his commission was delayed.
The senior advocate said this during an interview with our correspondent on Monday.
Sagay said if the commission, which the whistle-blower claims is N860m, was given to him immediately; he probably would have squandered it within a month or two.
Sagay said, “What I gathered from my inquiry is that the man is not sufficiently stable to receive such a huge sum of money. He is like someone who will almost run mental when he gets the money and will use it in an irresponsible manner, attracting not only undesirable people but even danger to himself.
“I think what they wanted to do for him was to provide counsellors. Not just counsellors for character and mental situation but counsellors who would be like consultants that would help him to really invest the money and plan in such a way that he doesn’t throw it away in five minutes.
“They are trying to help him. Nobody is denying him anything. They are trying to help him but he just misunderstands the intention and like everyone that has been deprived for a long time, he is so desperate to have it but from what I can see, if they just give him everything, it won’t last more than a month or two because so many people will start finding ways to get to him and taking their portions from him. So, they were just trying to help him but he became hysterical.”
Sagay hailed the Federal Government’s decision to pay the whistle-blower in tranches, adding that such a method of payment would deter him from spending it all at once.
The PACAC chairman said it was also the responsibility of the government to ensure that the whistleblower did not become a nuisance.
He added, “It is better to pay him in tranches. I agree with the government because if not, he will throw it away. This is valuable money that government could have used for millions of unemployed and wretchedly poor people.
“One man is getting it and he just wants it so that he can blow it all in five minutes? No, the government has a responsibility to see that his excitement does not end in seeing the money being thrown away irresponsibly. So, I agree with the government.”
The lawyer of the whistle-blower, Yakubu Galadima, however, said the government’s intentions were suspect.
Galadima wondered why the government did not question his client’s mental capacity when he was giving the EFCC information on the money.
The lawyer said even if his client was mental, he still deserved to be given his due.
He said, “As far as I am concerned, if the money is not paid by the end of this month, I am ready to tell the whole world but if they act favourably, their image will be redeemed.
“Does Prof. Sagay have contact with my client? Doesn’t my client have relatives that can take care of him? Even a mad man is entitled to his estate so what are they talking about? That is not an excuse as far as I am concerned.” (Punch)