Osborne Tower Cash Hoard: Culprits To Be Sanctioned, Says Buhari |RN

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday in Abuja said all those found culpable in the Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos, scandal would be made to account for their deeds and appropriately sanctioned.

Buhari said this when he received the report of the Presidential Review Panel on the operational, technical and administrative structure of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), at the State House.

The president described the discovery of monies in a four-bedroom flat at Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos, in April as an ‘‘unfortunate incident which rightly aroused public interest and outcry.’’

He said: ‘‘all the circumstances surrounding the obtaining, keeping custody and disbursement of the funds have been examined by the Vice President’s committee.

“All those found to be culpable will be made to account and appropriately sanctioned.

‘‘However, it must be understood that this cannot be done in a manner that jeopardises national security or exposes the operations of any intelligence agency which must be conducted in secrecy.

‘‘Suffice it for me to assure all that justice will be done in line with our anti-corruption policies.’’

Buhari expressed hope that the recommendations of the panel and that of the vice president’s committee on the matter would assist government in improving the operations of the NIA.

The president said the findings of the committees would also improve the overall national security architecture.

‘‘Your panel’s recommendation, informed as they are by your collective experience and expertise in this field, should in particular help to reposition the NIA to better perform its vital functions with greater professionalism.

‘‘The Osborne Towers incident and its aftermath have also brought to the fore the need to review the entire national security architecture which has been in operation as established 31 years ago, ’’ he said.

Buhari commended the presidential review panel led by Babagana Kingibe, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, for completing the assignment expeditiously.

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo was present at the presentation of the report by the panel which had Chief Albert Horsfall, Amb. Zakari Ibrahim and Amb. Ezekiel Oladeji, as members.

The EFCC had on April 12 discovered 43.4 million dollars, 27,000 pounds and N23.2 million cash in an apartment at the towers.

The Federal Government has already paid N421 million to the whistle blower who provided information leading to the discovery of the cash.

(Source: NAN)

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$43m Ikoyi Cash: 9 Whistle-blowers Fight Over N850m Commission |RN

We’ve record of official informants –EFCC

By Adetutu Folasade-Koyi

Less than 48 hours later the Federal Government, through the Ministry of Finance, promised to redeeming its pledge on five percent commission to the whistleblower who helped uncover $43 million and other currency stashed in an apartment in Ikoyi, Lagos, nine individuals have stepped forward to claim the reward.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) recovered the money in an apartment on 16, Osborne Road, Ikoyi, on April 13, 2017, following a tip-off.

The anti-graft agency also uncovered about N23 million and £27,000 from the Ikoyi apartment.

Regardless, three people have fired a petition to the Attorney General of the Federation, Shehu Abubakar Malami, where they alleged that some EFCC officials of attempting to shortchange them by introducing those who were not among the informants.

The petitioners said Head of EFCC Operations, Samaila Muhammed, told them that the number of whistleblowers had increased to nine.

Under the federal government’s whistleblower policy, the individual who gives information is entitled to between 2.5 percent and 5 percent of the recovered loot.

But the payment is yet to be made, even though the federal government has promised to release the money. The petitioners weren’t named, neither was their counsel, said PRNigeria. The petitioners  are heading to court to stop payment of commission to those they described as “wrong persons.”

They claimed that the people listed to collect the commission knew nothing about the deal and are angry that two months after the petition was submitted to the AGF, nothing concrete has been done. PRNigeria obtained and released the petition yesterday.

“Our clients informed us sometime in December 2016 that three of them voluntarily walked into the office of the EFCC at 15A, Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos and gave vital information that led to the recovery of over N13 billion at Ikoyi Towers, Lagos.

“Upon subsequent visit, to give detailed information as required by the commission to raid the tower, they were told if the operation was successful, five percent of the amount recovered would be their take-home; within 72 hours of recovery. They were also cautioned that if the information happened to be false, then, they would definitely be in trouble which the three mentioned above accepted because they were sure of their facts.

“When the operation was carried out, it was successful but, since then, they have not received any commendation from the commission, let alone give any reward as stated, even though the EFCC has their names and phone numbers,” a part of the petition read.

The petitioners said rather than do the needful, some EFCC officials informed them more people were involved in the deal. Their names were not released.

When contacted, media aide to the Minister of Finance, Mr. Yinka Akintunde,  said such issues should be referred to the EFCC because “it is not the responsibility of the ministry.”

Akintunde said the ministry would only come in when the right persons have been identified.

At the EFCC, its spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, explained the role of the commission on the matter.

He said several persons had approached the commission to say they were part of the whistleblowing.

Uwujaren, however, told PRNigeria that the commission has records of the original whistleblowers of the Ikoyi Towers cash.

“All will be done to make sure that the right persons are paid accordingly,” he reportedly said.

On Sunday, Finance minister, Kemi Adeosun, said the whistleblower would soon be paid.

She insisted the federal government has not withheld any funds due whistleblowers and emphasised that the Ikoyi whistleblower is part of the next batch of payments. (The Sun)

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Ikoyi Whistle-blower Would Run Mad If Given His Money Immediately- Sagay

Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN)

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)

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IKOYIGATE PROBE: We Are Under Pressure, Say Reps |The Republican News

From Kemi Yesufu, Abuja 

Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on National Security and Intelligence, Sani Jaji, has alleged that some powerful forces have been putting immense pressure on the House to influence the outcome of the investigation by the committee into the $43million loot discovered in a flat in Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos.
He said in a statement yesterday, that pressure and unsolicited advice were coming from different quarters all aimed at influencing the report of his committee.
He, however, vowed that the House would get to the root of the matter, adding that Nigerians deserved to know the truth.
He claimed: “There have been attempts on me as the chairman of the committee and members of the committee on what direction the investigation should take and the possible outcome of the report.
“There has been a lot of frustration but this has not in any way affected us because we remain committed to our cause.
“Though there is no monetary inducement these pressures are in form of text messages and physical contacts about what we should do, what we should not do, that we should dwell on this and not on that.
“They say this or that agency has a reputation that should not be put on the line, so we should not go beyond certain extent but we tell them that our determination is to safeguard the name and integrity of our institutions.
“But we tell them it is not fair to castigate an entire agency for the wrongdoing of an agency and that is why we want to protect our institutions by getting to the roots of these infractions and expose the individuals responsible.
“In continuation of the mandate given the committee by the House, we just met with the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, in relation to the $43million discovered in an apartment in Ikoyi and the meeting was very fruitful.
“We have been meeting with relevant stakeholders concerned in this matter before now, having met with Magu, it is our resolve to pursue this matter to a logical conclusion because more revelations are coming out.
“It should be understood that we cannot come out with some of these facts now since the investigation is not concluded yet. It is our mandate to find out the owner of that apartment and the ownership of the money, notwithstanding that the Nigerian Intelligence Agency (NIA) has laid claim to both.
“Notwithstanding the sensitivity of the assignment, the EFCC has been able to give us some important information in relation to the money.”
Jaji said the committee would meet with the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele and the suspended Director-General of the NIA this week.          (The Sun)

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