$43m Ikoyi cash: 9 whistle-blowers fight over N850m commission

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.

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Author: Uche Atuma