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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

ItseSagay
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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Recoveries From Whistle-blower Policy Exceeded Our Expectations – Adeosun

Kemi-Adeosun-Ogun
                       Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun

Ifeanyi Onuba, Abuja

The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, on Sunday said that the recoveries, which the Federal Government had made through the implementation of the whistle-blower policy, had exceeded its expectations.

Adeosun stated this in an article written by her and made available to our correspondent by her Special Adviser on Communications, Mr. Oluyinka Akintunde.

The whistle-blower policy, which was launched in December 2016, is aimed at addressing the issues of corruption in the management of government resources.

In the article entitled: ‘Positioning Nigeria for a prosperous future’, Adeosun stated that the government was doing a lot to stop the level of corrupt practices in the country.

The minister did not provide the total amount recovered under the policy. However, as of June this year, the ministry said that the sum of N11.63bn had been recovered under the whistle blower policy with about N375.8m paid to 20 providers of information.

Adeosun said that the implementation of the Treasury Single Account system had assisted the government in consolidating thousands of accounts scattered across Deposit Money Banks into a unified system that was transparent and easy to centrally monitor and track.

She said under the old system, it was common for government accounts to be converted into personal use, adding that with the TSA, this was no longer possible.

The minister stated that while there was a lot of resistance to reform by vested interests within and outside the system, the Federal Government would not relent in pursuing its reforms.   (Punch)

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BREAKING: FG Pays N375.8m To 2O Whistleblowers |The Republican News

President-Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari

The Federal Government has paid N375.8m to 20 whistleblowers, who provided information that led to the recovery of N11.6bn.

The Director of Information, Mr Salisu Dambatta in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja, said that the payment was only for recovered assets that had been declared free of legal disputes or litigation by the Attorney-General of the Federation.

He said that in addition, taxes have been removed before final payments to beneficiaries.

“This payment, which is the first under the Whistleblower Policy, underscores the commitment of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration in meeting obligations to information providers under the Whistleblower Policy.

“The policy is an essential tool in the fight against corruption.

“The Ministry, therefore, encourages all Nigerians with information on misconduct, violation or improper activity which can impact negatively on Nigeria to report it to the appropriate authority,” he said.

Dambatta said the Whistleblower Policy was recently amended to include the introduction of a formal legal agreement between information providers and the Federal Government.

He said the agreement had already been executed by the Minister of Justice.

He said the amendment was introduced to ensure the protection of the identity of information providers during the payment process.

However, Dambatta declined to reveal the specific recoveries for which the monies were being paid saying that “it may endanger the whistleblowers”.

The Whistleblower Unit is a multi-agency team, resident in Federal Ministry of Finance Headquarters.

It is staffed by secondees from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission and Department of State Services.

Also, the Nigeria Police Force and Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit form part of the unit.

The Unit is the first line of response to whistleblower information, where the initial review is undertaken before cases are forwarded to the relevant investigative agencies.

So far, the unit has received 2, 150 communications and 337 tips through its dedicated channels from many patriotic Nigerians, which led to the recovery of substantial assets that were illegally acquired by various individuals.

The primary purpose of the Policy is to support the fight against financial crimes and corruption, promote accountability and enhance transparency in the management of public finances.

NAN

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Court Remands Alleged False Whistle-blower In Prison Over Raid On Ekweremadu

 IkeEkweremadu
                              Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu

Ade Adesomoju, Abuja

An Upper Area Court, in Gudu, Abuja, on Tuesday, remanded 50-year-old Ahmed Echodo in Keffi Prison, Nasarawa State, for allegedly giving false information which was said to have misled the police to raid the official Guest House of the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, in Maitama, Abuja.

The police were said to have executed a search warrant on the property on Friday, May 27 based on the alleged false information given by Echodo.

After the defendant pleaded not guilty to a First Information Report on Tuesday, the presiding Chief Upper Area Court judge, Umar Kagarko, directed that he (defendant) be remanded in prison pending the ruling on his bail application to be delivered on June 5.

A steward in Ekweremadu’s guest house, Mr. Oliver Ogenyi, was said to have been arrested during the police operation.

Ogenyi was reportedly taken to the Inspector General of Police Special Squad Office in Guzape District, Abuja, but was later released.

The First Information Report filed before the Upper Area Court accused Echodo of criminal conspiracy and giving false information to mislead police.

According to the FIR, Echodo conspired with Maiwa Adamu (now at large) to commit the alleged offences.

The FIR signed by the prosecuting police officer, David Taiwo, who is an Assistant Superintendent of Police, stated that the alleged offences were contrary to section 97(1) and 140 of the Penal Code Law.

The FIR read, “That on May 26, 2017, at about 0900hrs, you Ahmed Echodo, ‘m, aged 50 years of No. 44, Living Truth Street, Masaaka, Nasarawa State and one Maiwada Adamu (now at large) did conspire with yourselves by informing the office of IGP, STS at Guzape Area of the FCT, Abuja, that House No. 10 Games Street, Maitama, FCT, Abuja occupied by Oliver Ogenyi is being maintained and used for criminal activities including keeping of arms and ammunition.

“Unfortunately, after the police carried out diligence execution of the search warrant, no incriminating items were found therein. You, by such action, misled the police and hereby committed the above offences.”

The defendant pleaded not guilty to the offences on Tuesday.

He also challenged the genuineness of police allegations when asked by the judge whether he understood the information preferred against him.

Echodo, who stood in the defendant’s box during the proceedings, demanded that the police be made to state whether the alleged false information he gave was in written or oral form.

Echodo said, “They (police) have not shown me how the information was passed to them by me. Was it oral or written? When they went to the house with Wada (who was said to be at large), I was not there.”

After the defendant pleaded not guilty, the prosecuting police officer, Taiwo, had asked for an adjournment for trial.

But the defence lawyer, Peters Ugwuoke, made an oral bail application, urging the court to grant bail to his client pending trial.

The lawyer cited section 36(5) of the 1999 Constitution and sections 198 and 162 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, to back his application.

Ugwuoke said his client would not jump bail and would never interfere with investigation or trial, adding that the defendant was ready to provide reasonable persons to stand as sureties for him.

But the prosecution counsel opposed the bail application, arguing that there was no material before the court to warrant the exercise of the court’s discretion in favour of the defendant.

He added that the defendant ought to have deposed to an affidavit to back the bail application.

The presiding judge of the court, fixed June 5, 2017, for ruling on the bail application. (Punchng.com)

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Whistle Blowers In Trouble For Giving False Information |The Republican News

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EFCC Acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu

•Docked in court by EFCC over false alarm

From James Ojo, Abuja

Two persons, Buhari Fannami and Aba-Kura Abdulahi, who allegedly gave false information under the whistle blowing policy of the Federal Government were arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), yesterday.
EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, said the duo were arraigned before Justice M. T Salihu of the Federal High Court, Maiduguri, Borno State.
The arraignment came a day after the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, claimed that over 2,500 corruption tips were received since the policy started last year.
She was addressing a town hall meeting to give account of the two-year-old Buhari administration in Abuja.
According to the EFCC, Fannami misled the agency with the information about illegally acquired monies purportedly buried at the residence of one Ba’a Lawan, but the information turned out to be false after the execution of a search warrant.
The charge reads: “That you, Buhari Fannami, on or about the 8th day of May, 2017 at Maiduguri, Borno State, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, did make statement to officers of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission under the whistle blowing policy to the effect that large sums of money being the proceeds of crime were buried in the residence Ba’a Lawan at Pompomari Layout along Pompomari Bypass, Maiduguri, which information/statement you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under sections 39 (2) (a) and 39 (2) (b) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act 2004 respectively.”
Uwujaren said the accused person pleaded not guilty to the charge.
Counsel to the prosecution asked for a trial date and prayed the court to remand the accused person in prison pending trial.
Justice Salihu adjourned the matter to June 7 and 8, 2017, for hearing and ordered the accused be remanded in prison.
It was alleged that Ba-Kura Abdullahi also gave false information to the effect that large sum of money in naira and foreign currencies were buried in the residence of  Ba’a Lawan.
Justice Salihu adjourned his case to June 7 and 8, 2017 for commencement of trial and ordered the accused to remanded in prison.
The whistle blowing policy was introduced by government last year as part of the war against corruption.
A reward of between five percent and 10 percent of the recovered loot was earmarked for the person who provided the information with a promise to protect the identity of the person.
Adeosun had told her audience: “The whistle blowing policy has made every Nigerian a detective and many of them are not even requesting for compensation.”
Similarly on Monday, Senate President Bukola Saraki disclosed that the Senate was considering anti-corruption legislation to be passed in July:
“At the moment, we are considering for passage into law the following bills: The Whistleblower Protection Bill, which, I am confident, will be passed not later than July 2017; The Proceeds of Crime Bill; The Special Anti-Corruption Court, which would be done through constitutional amendment and; The Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Bill.”    (The Sun)

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FG Approves 5% Of Recovered Loot For Whistleblowers |The Republican News

Minister of Finance, Mr Kemi Adeosun

Olalekan Adetayo, Abuja 

The Federal Executive Council on Wednesday approved the Ministry of Finance Whistleblowing Programme that may see individuals, who voluntarily volunteers credible information on stolen or concealed funds, smiling home with between 2.5 per cent and five per cent of the funds when recovered.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun; and the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, briefed State House correspondents at the end of the meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Adeosun said the programme was designed to encourage anyone with information about a violation, misconduct or improper activity that impacted negatively on Nigerians and government, to report such.

She said, “If there is a voluntary return of stolen or concealed public funds or assets on the account of the information provided, the whistleblower may be entitled to anywhere between 2.5 per cent (minimum) and 5.0 per cent (maximum) of the total amount recovered.

“You must have provided the government with information it does not already have and could not otherwise obtain from any other publicly available source to the government.”

The minister said the programme would serve as a stop-gap till a bill on the same matter, presently before the National Assembly, was passed into law.

She explained that there would be a secure online portal where the information could be submitted.

After submitting such information, she said the whistleblower could also check the status of his report on the portal.

Examples of information that could be submitted, according to the minister, are mismanagement or misappropriation of public funds and assets, including properties and vehicles; financial malpractice or fraud; collecting/soliciting bribes; and corruption.

Others infraction, the minister said, included diversion of revenues; fraudulent and unapproved payments; splitting of contracts; and procurement fraud that included kickbacks and over-invoicing among others.

Adeosun, however, warned that under the programme, personal matters, concerning private contracts or agreements, would not be allowed.

She explained that the information could be submitted through the online portal by e-mail or by phone.

The finance minister added that the information, which could be submitted on condition of anonymity, could be submitted through documentary evidence and provision of specific and fact-based information such as what occurred, amount involved, who was involved and dates of occurrence on the portal.

Adeosun added, “Confidentiality will be maintained to the fullest extent within the limitations of the law. If you choose not to disclose your identity, there will be no record of who you are. If you choose to disclose your identity, it will be fully protected.

“If you ‘whistleblow’ in public spirit and in good faith, you will be protected. If you feel that you have been treated badly because of your report, you can file a formal complaint.

“If you have suffered harassment, intimidation or victimisation for sharing your concerns, restitution will be made for any loss suffered.”

Adeosun added that the information provided would be reviewed and analysed to determine whether or not to open an investigation into the matter.

In matters that are criminal in nature, she said such cases would be referred to relevant agencies such as the police, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission or the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

The minister explained that apart from possible prosecution, those found guilty would be blacklisted from working with or doing business with the government.

Adeosun, however, warned that false information could attract prosecution.

She said, “A first-level review will always be carried out to determine credibility and sufficiency of information received.

“If you report false or misleading information, it will be referred to the enforcement agents for investigation and possible prosecution.” (Punchng.com)

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