Nigeria: Presidency Double-Speaks on Whistle-blower Policy
The Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee on Against Corruption in Nigeria, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN) has said the delay in payment of a whistle-blower was an official decision to save the whistle-blower from getting mad when paid N860 million due to him
But the country’s whistle-blower policy released December 2016 does not provide that payment of commission due to the whistle-blower should be delayed or denied for whatever reason
Its’ been eight months after operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) acting on a whistle-blower’s tip-off found $43,449,947, £27,800 and N23,218,000 hidden inside an apartment at Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos Nigeria. The sum was valued at N13 billion based on prevailing exchange rate set by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
But the person who provided the information has not been paid his commission according to the law.
The policy provided that there is reward for reporting fraud: “The whistle-blower will get between 2.5 per cent (minimum) and five per cent (maximum) of the recovered loot, provided that “there is a voluntary return of stolen or concealed public funds or assets on the account of the information provided”
But Sagay, defending why the Federal Government has not paid the whistle-blower 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.
“The sight of huge amount of dollars can make a mere security guard run mental. 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 told Punch that the Federal Government has decided to pay the whistle-blower in tranches, adding that such a method of payment would deter him from spending it all at once.
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.”