More Nigerian Whistleblowers To Smile Away With Millions, Even Billions
13 February 2017 News
A whistleblower is a person who exposes any kind of information or activity that is deemed illegal, unethical, or not correct within an organization that is either private or public. Just recently, Nigerians were promised 5% of any amount that would be blown by any one. Many wondered whether or not this would be possible but a few weeks down the line, the FG has been put to test.
News was rife from the weekend that $9.2m was recovered in cash, allegedly belonging to a former GMD of the NNPC.
The Federal Government has further said on Sunday that its whistle-blower policy has started yielding fruits.
It said the policy had so far led to the recovery of over $151m (N46bn) and N8bn in looted funds.
This was contained in a stateent releases by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
The minister said the looted funds, which did not include the $9.2m in cash allegedly owned by a former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mr. Andrew Yakubu, were recovered from just three sources through whistle-blowers who he said gave actionable information to the office of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami(SAN).
He said that the $9.2m cash and others, were also dividends of the whistle-blower policy.
The minister said that the biggest amount of $136,676,600.51 (N42bn) was recovered from an account in a commercial bank, where he said money was kept under an apparently fake account name.
This, he said, was followed by N7bn and $15m from another person and N1bn from yet another.
Lai Mohammed said, ‘’When we told Nigerians that there was a primitive and mindless looting of the national treasury under the last administration, some people called us liars.
“Well, the whistle-blower policy is barely two months old and Nigerians have started feeling its impact, seeing how a few people squirrelled away public funds.
“It is doubtful if any economy in the world will not feel the impact of such mind-boggling looting of the treasury as was experienced in Nigeria.
‘’Yet, whatever has been recovered so far, including the $9.2m by the EFCC, is just a tip of the iceberg.’’
He appealed to Nigerians with useful information on looted funds to continue to provide the authorities with such information, saying confidentiality would be maintained with regard to the source of the information.
The minister also reminded Nigerians of the financial reward aspect of the policy, saying ‘’If there is a voluntary return of stolen or concealed public funds or assets on the account of the information provided, the whistle-blower may be entitled to between 2.5 per cent (minimum) and 5 per cent (maximum) of the total amount recovered.’’
Meanwhile, some human rights groups – the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project and the Campaign for Democracy – have called on the Federal Government to show value for the recovered loot by immediately injecting it into the economy.
The SERAP Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, said the Federal Government must immediately inject the loot back into the economy so that Nigerians could feel the socio-economic impact.
He said, “We are not just looking at recovery for recovery sake. We want whatsoever is recovered to be pumped immediately into the economy. What will be the benefits of Nigerians from recovered loot? Is it recovery to keep in personal purses or to inject into the economy?
“The critical areas of our economy include building infrastructural facilities and the Federal Government should immediately deploy these funds.
“Another area is that if the loot was recovered as a result of the whistle-blower initiative, the government must keep to its promise. You will recall that when the idea came up, it was promised that if a whistle-blower gives information and it leads to the recovery of sums of money, compensation will be given to the whistle-blower. I hope the government would not go back on that. I think the whistle-blower policy should continue.”