Yakubu Galadima, the lawyer for the whistle-blower who informed the Economic and financial Crimes Commission of the $43m, N23.2m and £27,800 (N13bn) recovered from an Ikoyi flat, says his client won’t settle for something below 5 per cent commission.
Galadima said this during a conversation with one of our correspondents on Saturday.
The Secretary of the Presidential advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, at an occasion on Thursday titled, ‘Tracking noxious Funds’, that was organized by Kent University law school and Human and Environmental Development Agency, had explained that any whistle-blower, who helped the govt. to recover anything above N1bn would receive less than 5 per cent commission.
Owasanoye, who was a part of the team that drafted the whistle-blower policy had said, “If you blow the whistle and also the government recovers money, you’re entitled to between 2.5 per cent and 5 per cent. the maximum limit is 5 per cent.
“According to the policy, if you blow the whistle and it’s below N500m, you get four to 5 per cent as a result of the higher the amount that’s recovered, the lower the percentage that’s given. this is the global best practice.
“If the recovery is between N500m and N1bn, you get 3 to four per cent (commission). If it’s N1bn and above, it is 2.5 per cent. Indeed, there’s a clause that we tend to included in the policy to say that the govt. could verify the amount to be awarded based on other criteria on condition that the amount to be awarded doesn’t exceed 5 per cent. In other words, the govt. may very well pay less than 2.5 per cent however no one can be paid more than 5 per cent.”
However, the Ikoyi whistle-blower’s lawyer told Sunday punch on Saturday that his client wouldn’t settle for something but 5 per cent.
When asked if his client would settle for something less than 5 per cent, he said, “Not at all.”
Galadima had stated last week that the commission his client was expecting from the federal government was N860m and not N325m.
He had also stated that the commission should be paid based on the exchange rate at the time the money was recovered and not the current one.
Attempts to get comments from the Ministry of Finance weren’t successful as calls and a text message sent to the Director of information in the ministry, Mr. Salisu Dambatta, weren’t responded to.
Meanwhile, there are indications that the Ministry of Finance is awaiting the final clearance from the EFCC before it pays the Ikoyi whistle blower.
Officials in the ministry confided in one of our correspondents that the whistle-blower was expected to be paid before the end of this month.
However, it was gathered that while the ministry was ready to make the payment, the move may well be delayed as administrative work was still ongoing on the issue.
The official said the ministry had put in situ detailed procedures for processing payments under the whistle-blower policy.
These procedures, according to the official, were designed to prevent abuse, legal disputes and to ensure protection of the information providers.
He stated that the identity of the information provider should be verified, adding that there would be calculation of the amount due and computation of relevant taxes.
The source declared, “The ministry of finance isn’t directly concerned in the recovery of looted fund; that’s the responsibility of the various security agencies.
“Our role is to form payment and you’ll recall that last week, the finance minister said payment would be made this month to the person who assisted in the recovery of looted funds including the Ikoyi whistle-blower.
“That process is on and final payment are often released after we receive confirmation from the agency that made the recovery before we can apprehend who to pay money to.
“In the case of the Ikoyi recovery, we are talking of the EFCC that is that the agency that made the recovery and once they give us final confirmation, payment would be made.”
In a related development, Owasanoye has revealed that violation of the directive regarding the Treasury Single Account by government agencies and officials tops the list of recoveries made from the whistle-blower policy.
Owasanoye said, “As of the end of October, over 5,000 whistles had been blown and about 75 per cent of that came from phone calls. So, you’ll report on the website, email, text message or telephone call.
“What are the items that the various communications have covered? Contract inflation, ‘ghost workers’, payment of unapproved funds, embezzlement of salaries, diversion of excess crude funds, improper reduction of financial penalties, diversion of funds meant for people, placing cash in an exceedingly commercial bank, non-remittance of deduction of pensions or NHIS and failure to implement comes.
“Others include embezzlement of funds received from donors, embezzlement of payment meant for personnel emoluments, violation of TSA which is the highest, violation of FIRS regulations, non-procurement of safety equipment, money laundering, illegal sale of government assets, diversion of IGR which is the second largest, financial misappropriation, concealed bailout funds, mismanagement of micro-finance banks and illegal recruitment.”