By Dipo Olowookere
Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, disclosed on Sunday night that the provider of information which led to the recovering of $43 million stashed at flat 7b of Osborne Towers in Ikoyi part of Lagos State would be rewarded before the end of this month.
Last week, Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Ibrahim Magu, was quoted in a statement issued by the agency’s spokesman, Mr Wilson Uwujaren, that the whistleblower had been officially compensated and was now a millionaire, who was being coached on how to properly invest the money.
But counsel to the whistleblower, Mr Yakubu Galadima, said on Friday that his client was yet to be rewarded by the EFCC as claimed by Mr Magu.
The lawyer said efforts to get the attention of the anti-money laundering agency to compensate the whistleblower had been futile.
Earlier in April this year, operatives of the anti-graft agency broke into a four-bedroom apartment on Osborne Towers, and pulled out $43 million, £27,800 and N23 million stashed in a wardrobe.
In June, a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos ordered the final forfeiture of the money to the Federal Government.
“We are currently working on the young man because this is just a man who has not seen N1 million of his own before.
“So, he is under counselling on how to make good use of the money and also the security implication.
“We don’t want anything bad to happen to him after taking delivery of his entitlement. He is a national pride,” Mr Magu was quoted as saying in Austria at a function in the European country.
But the whistleblower’s lawyer refuted this, saying, “The truth is that this guy has not been paid a penny.
“In fact, from April till date, the guy has been living under my meagre resources, his security was just zero. I’ve had to relocate this guy from one place to another so nobody knows his whereabouts.”
But reacting to this matter on Sunday via her verified Twitter page, the Finance Minister said the whistleblower would be paid this month.
“Let me make it clear that the FG will not withhold any funds due to any whistleblower. The Whistleblower Policy has detailed procedures for processing payments. The procedures were designed to prevent abuse and legal disputes and to ensure protection of the information providers.
“These procedures include an application by the agency that recovered the funds, confirmation that there are no pending legal issues on the recovery, verification of the identity of the information provider, calculation of amount payable, and computation of relevant taxes.
“Whistleblower Payments are made in monthly batches. To date, over 20 of such persons have been paid. From available records, the payment due on the Ikoyi Apartment recovery is among those being processed in the November batch, which will be released within the current month.
“The Whistleblowing Policy remains one of the @MBuhari Administration’s successful initiatives. We’re fully committed to ensuring that all those who respond to the policy & partner with us in the recovery effort are paid in full—& most importantly have their identity protected.
“Let me reiterate that the Federal Government will not withhold any payments due to any whistleblower,” Mrs Adeosun explained.
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