EXCLUSIVE: Lawyer counters EFCC, says Ikoyi money whistle-blower yet to be paid

Money recovered from an apartment in Osborne Towers Ikoyi
Money recovered from an apartment in Osborne Towers Ikoyi

A lawyer to the whistle-blower that helped in the recovery of $43.5 million, £27,800 and N23.2 million at No. 16 Osborne Road, Flat 7B Osborne Towers in Ikoyi, Lagos, has said his client is yet to be paid his due reward five months after a court ordered a final forfeiture of the money.

Reacting to a claim by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission that his client is now a millionaire, the lawyer, Yakubu Galadima, told PREMIUM TIMES on Friday that several efforts to get the money have been unsuccessful.

“The truth is that this guy has not been paid a penny,” Mr. Galadima said.

“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.”

The Nigerian government in December 2016 adopted a policy on whistleblowing to encourage citizens to report financial and other related crimes to relevant authorities.

According to the policy, whistleblowers whose revelations lead to the recovery of money are entitled to as much as five percent of the recovered sum.

Since the introduction of the policy, the government has recovered about N17 billion, according to the EFCC.

Some of those monies had been recovered from LEGICO Plaza in Victoria Island, Lagos; the luxury apartment in Ikoyi; a building in Kaduna belonging to Andrew Yakubu, a former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation; among others.

Last June, the Nigerian government announced it had released about N375.8 million for payment of 20 whistleblowers who provided information for the recovery of over N11.6 billion.

On Wednesday, while speaking at the 7th session of the Conference of State Parties to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, Ibrahim Magu, the EFCC acting chairman, said the individual who helped uncover the Ikoyi apartment money had become a millionaire.

“We are currently working on the young man because this is just a man who has not seen one million Naira of his own before.

“So he is under counseling on how to make 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.”

‘The true position’

Mr. Galadima said the EFCC boss’s “position is not correct.”

According to the lawyer, the Ikoyi whistle-blower accompanied by friends had approached him in early April this year to inform him about their suspicion of a huge amount of money stashed away in one of the apartments at the Osborne Towers.

“In fact, what came to their mind was to go and burgle the place since they know the security network of the house,” said Mr. Galadima.

“I was the one that advised them that, you don’t do that because that will amount to crime. That since there is a policy of the federal government, let us exploit that avenue.

“I took them, we went to the Commission, discussed with them, they said they were going to give the boy a form to fill and that if the story turns out to be false that the guy will go to jail. We said no problem, we undertook and we signed.

“The next day, we went to the house, all of us were all shivering thinking there was nothing inside. And then we started to discover all sorts of money in different denominations, pounds, dollars, naira. These monies were all recovered and taken to the Commission. It was counted. They brought a staff of CBN and he came and counted the money.”

In April, the EFCC headed to a federal court in Lagos seeking for the forfeiture of the money to the Nigerian government and, in June, Justice Muslim Hassan ordered a permanent forfeiture of the money to the government.

The judge had earlier granted an interim forfeiture giving 14 days for anyone interested in the funds to appear before it and show reason why the money should not be permanently forfeited to the federal government.

Nobody appeared before the court to claim the money.

“The moment the final forfeiture was made, I wrote a comprehensive letter to Magu, attaching the judgement, and said court has made a final forfeiture, where is the reward and commission of the whistleblowers?” Mr. Galadima continued.

“In fact, the letter was addressed to the Acting President then through the Office of the Acting Chairman since the money was recovered by the EFCC. That was the first letter.

“A month later, I wrote a reminder. It was after that reminder that they said we should bring the boy to Abuja. We took the boy to Abuja, he had one on one interface for the first time with the acting president. We went together with the acting chairman.

“The acting president congratulated him for a job well done and that with the money they’ll pay him, he’s now a millionaire. We all laughed.”

Mad whistle-blower

Mr. Galadima said while he was out of country on vacation, his client contacted him on the phone and told him about receiving threats to his life.

“The day we went to the office of the acting president, they gave him a number that he can reach them at any time. So he has been communicating with the acting president. Following the threats, they detailed some SSS to be working around him,” the lawyer said.

The whistle-blower was later taken to the SSS facility at Shangisha, Lagos, and given an apartment.

“Because the guy had always been looking forward to see(ing) this money and it wasn’t forthcoming, he started shouting. When he started shouting, they said he’s mad, that he’s having a mental problem.

“The SSS people called me and said I should come and carry my luggage. They brought him to the EFCC and abandoned him there. The EFCC people called me that I should come and carry my client.”

On getting to the Commission’s office, Mr. Galadima said he was informed of his client’s mental illness and plans to take him to the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital in Yaba.

“I said he’s not mad, that it’s because you people are holding his money that’s why he’s reacting this way. They insisted the guy is mad, that they have to take him to a psychiatric hospital, they bundled this man. I said ok, if that’s how to prove that he’s not mad, no problem, we went to the psychiatric hospital in Yaba.

“They injected him and said they have to monitor him for a month. They monitored him for a month. The day they were going to release him, the EFCC called me again to come and carry my “critical asset.” This was a boy I never knew from Adam….. I said ok, I went to the EFCC the guy said he’s ok there’s no problem anymore, they handed him over to me three weeks ago. Ever since then, I pay money into his account on a weekly basis for his upkeep.”

Phone calls and text messages to Wilson Uwujaren, the EFCC spokesperson, were not answered.

The phone lines of Laolu Akande, the Senior Special Assistant to the vice president, Yemi Osinbajo, did not go through.

On October 12, Mr. Galadima wrote to President Muhammadu Buhari seeking the prompt payment of the commission due to his client.

“I have written twice while you are away receiving treatment to the Acting President through the office of the Acting Chairman of the EFCC on 7th June 2017 and 24th July 2017 respectively,” Mr. Galadima stated in a copy of the letter he made available to PREMIUM TIMES.

“Please note that the discovery (of the money) was a result of my client’s efforts and consequently, I respectfully urge Your Excellency to use your good offices to facilitate the prompt payment of the reward/commission due to my clients.”

Mr. Galadima said that contrary to media reports that his client’s commission is N350 million, the correct figure is N850 million.

“Because the money discovered was about N17 billion and not N13 billion that is being declared. It was calculated as at the time the money was recovered.”


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  • Frank Bassey

    You better be careful. Someone may be using that to trick your client into a dirty deal. These people are not only mean but dangerous.

  • T-Rex

    Hmmmmmmmmm,they even lied against this patriotic boy that they have paid him! Liar Mohammed everywhere you go!!

  • kenmege

    Chai!! Naija. U do bad , wahala. U do Good,wahala. Which way forward?

  • share Idea

    APC will never disappoint discerning minds that knows them as liars. Nigeria we hail thee

  • utolason

    Apart from the issue of payment, Magu was very reckless to have given some hints as to who the whistle blower is. He described the whistle blower as a “young man because this is just a man who has not seen one million Naira of his own before.” With this piece of useful information, Mr Oke (with his experience in intelligence service) can actually narrow down who the person is. There would have been many young men around him who has never seen one million naira before.

    I can’t believe Magu, as a senior police officer, can be that reckless.

    • TAWANDA INCOMMUNICADO

      He is not reckless, it is a subtle form of blackmail to expose an informer and make him run away from collecting reward.

    • FreeBorn

      My observation too!
      But did he enlist in the police on merit? Magu doesn’t look smart, and he doesn’t convince me he’s clean. I suspect down his police mind, Magu’s truly pissed this folk exposed Oke.

      • marcos avelino

        You are right most black Negroes dont look smart with their flat ugly noses nd thick lips and their women with muscular yam legs

  • TAWANDA INCOMMUNICADO

    A government of lies, mass deception and propaganda.

    • FreeNigeria

      Didn’t pay him, but tagged him crazy. He wasn’t crazy when he took them to where the money is. Well, maybe he was, he should have taken most if not all. Who’ll complain about it. he stole the stolen money.

  • Dan

    …and after he went to Abuja and was injected, he returned and developed mental problem. Why is Nigerian govt this wicked? You govt officials are buying armoured cars left right & centre. You have paid all other so-called whistle blowers who agreed to part with a percentage of their pay or blew the whistle to settle political scores. BUT this unknown poor Boy must not become rich because crooks in high places never want the poor in Nigeria to rise. Hell fire is real and all those denying this Boy his monies directly or indirectly will rot in the hottest parts of hell.

  • So oju abe niko

    Why is it that everyone in government (any government, apc, pdp, mmm…) is a compulsive liar? How can one ever believe the Magu guy again, if he could create such an elaborate lie. Lucky for us, he bet wrongly in thinking that no one would dare challenge his brazen lies. Kudos to Barrister Yakubu Galadima for outing this prick.

    • mayGodpunishopressors

      Oh, so you guys think that all that efcc is dishing out against politicians in the news media are true. Magu is a trained liar and he was able to work with some dubious news media to tell lies about politicians and those that are against his principal.

      • So oju abe niko

        No, even the most partisan APC people (or PDP) know that more than 50% of any claims from EFCC are BS. Who doesn’t know that EFCC recruits from the police – and (Nigerian) police would be police, irrespective of serving in the NPF or the EFCC. However, there is a difference in this case – He made up a story completely without any compulsion, and he gave that account on the international forum – that places Magu on another planet of deception.

  • m

    Government should call the boy and lawyer galadima to re-negotiate the reward since it seems Osinbaba and PMB may not be willing to dishout N850million from okegate loot to the whistleblower. Come on, what happened to the whistleblower these days?. Any update?. Abi mainagate, malamigate, babachirgate, maikantigate have diverted attention?.

  • Emeka

    Magu if the story of this lawyer is true, then you failed woefully and may have disappointed your supporters, but won’t jump to conclusions until we hear your own side of the story. It’s always good to hear from both sides.

    • Arabakpura

      Does it not trouble you that they have arranged and injected madness into the whistle blower! Whitsle blowing has become a very dangerous game!

      • FreeNigeria

        if you’re not a referee, don’t blow whistle in Nigeria ooooooo. crime is the biggest business in Nigeria.

  • manager

    Nigerian government is never trusted

  • Omooba

    THIS MAGU CANNOT BE TRUSTED GOING BY HIS SHAMELESS PRONOUNCEMENT IN FAR AWAY AUSTRIA.

  • Okokondem

    Another Nigeria horror story. Let’s see who gets blamed for this gross act of betrayal – Igbo, Yoruba, Hausa. We are often busy beating up one another in a heated tribal war of words whereas Nigeria’s protracted problems with corruption are endemic, systemic and intractable. It’s irrelevant what tribe a perpetrator is, Nigerians serving in the government have consistently proven untrustworthy in matters involving management of public funds – salaries, pension funds, project contracts, you name it.

    I was among those willing to give Magu the benefit of the doubt when the Nigerian senate stalled his confirmation, but if what this lawyer is saying is true that casts a shadow on his reputation and his integrity. What would possess him to proclaim publicly that this person has claimed the reward when he knows such false claim is refutable.

    Also, it’s not only emature that he would give away details about the identity of the whistle-blower, no matter how insignificant, it also raises questions about his motives for doing so. It’s no secret especially to a supposedly seasoned investigator such as himself that the success of the whistle-blower concept depends on maintaining the confidentiality and anonymity of those who risk their safety to come forward.

    Again if what this lawyer is saying is true that his client has not received a penny of his reward while Magu publicly claims otherwise, it highlights the brazen nature and air of invincibility among our public officials towards committing crimes.

  • SeniO.

    Kudos to Premium times. Good journalism!

    As for EFCC and Magu, na wa o!

  • Lanre

    If anyone is in doubt that governance in Nigeria is a scam, what further proof do you need? Except Yusuf Galadima is lying. In any case why would a security operative (in this case Magu) claim that they have paid the whistleblower and announce it to the whole world? Everybody now knows Yusuf Galadima and very soon the identity of the “boy” will be revealed. Something does not sound right with this whole story. Just like the NNPC Scandal, the Maina Scandal and now this. Governance in Nigeria is a sophisticated Criminal Enterprise. The seats of power active crime scenes.

  • abeem

    I have long held PMB in high esteem but my trust in my have been tested, shaken and eroded several times this year and I do not think he earns my trust any more. I have been an ardent supporter of his from his first time out as Military head of state when he shared the limelight with the late Tunde Idiagbon of blessed memory. I am completely disappointed in him. To say he is a misfit for the office of the president is a gross understatement.

  • Arabakpura

    If they trouble this lawyer too much, he can recruit me to join the legal battle! I have done my calculations and the money should be 890 million Naira instead of 850 million Naira that the lawyer just submitted! I hate injustice with all my soul!

    • So oju abe niko

      indeed, nobody hates injustice more than you:-) And the extra N40 mil you tacked on has nothing to do with it 🙂

      • Arabakpura

        I was only being truthful unless my calculator has misbehaved again!

        • kaydutch

          Five percent of N17 billion is N850 million.

          • Arabakpura

            I added the amount that they refused to declare and I used the current exchange rates!

          • Okokondem

            With all due respect why do intelligent people like you dwell so much, and waste so much time arguing about the immaterial and insignificant. So you did a calculation to determine the percentage of the recovered loot (which in fact is a no brainer) and got it wrong, it’s not the end of the world. So, move on to more substantive and more relevant troubling aspects of this revelation. I’m just saying.

          • Arabakpura

            Thank you! I added the invisibles which the lawyer acknowledged were not reported but failed himself to take care of! We are going to ask for everything! This lying policy of this administration will not be allowed to go unchallenged!

  • kaydutch

    Nigeria is fantastically corrupt!Apologies to David Cameron.

    It’s the modern Sodom and Gomorrah.

  • kaydutch

    lmao

  • FreeNigeria

    “Because the money discovered was about N17 billion and not N13 billion that is being declared. It was calculated as at the time the money was recovered.” So what happened to the N4B and the guy’s commission? Wicked people, stole the N4B and still want to steal the guys commission.

  • forestgee

    Mr. Integrity or government of integrity! I don’t know if I should laugh or cry. Some people cannot still get it that lies and falsehood is the foundation of this government. SHAME. I hope the government will not kill him.

  • Chuma Anierobi

    It seems that the DSS report on Mr Magu is very very correct.

    • Tijani

      Magu is a boldfaced liar and thief. Buhari-Osinbajo presidency won’t sack him. Presidency of liars and thieves.

  • Hashim Wakil

    Fellow Nigerians, what else do you need to see, read or hear before we all know that Magu is worse than the fraudsters and looters he was employed to arrest. Magu should be fired immediately without any further delay. EFCC has become a breeding ground for overnight police billionaires.

  • realist

    How would a country that cannot obey his law makes progress, they have already planned how to short change the man, already blackmailing him as an invalid, reduced the amount from 17 billions to 13. Shame of a country.

  • Whalerolex

    I knew it and expressed my opinion of the possible lies of EFCC on this matter when Magu said the whistle-blower is now a millionaire and they are counselling him on how to make good use of the money. Nigeria we hail thee
    These people are just playing mind games with the poor masses

  • Julius

    I knew this is what will happen. I hope they don’t kill the boy. What a country !

    • KELLOGGS

      That’s right! You have been running around supporting a dark president, and his cabal. Nigeria is in the throes of an evil man. The country is a cesspool of perdition.

  • Okokondem

    The only reason the person charged with prosecuting the so called war against corruption would unabashedly misrepresent the truth before a global audience, the UN, knowing full well he could be refuted, is because in matters involving ilicit self enrichment Nigerian government officials have become imiuned and insulated.

  • Okokondem

    I say this with a heavy heart, in our collective goals to live to be 100, I am glad to be in the second half of that journey to have to answer a Nigerian. And that’s because the people who rule our country, irrespective of their tribe, religion or political parties, bring shame and dishonor to the country.

  • thisnigeria

    The original plan of the whistle blower was to burgle the place and steal all the money and this is his reward for being a good citizen. So now, how and why should Nigeria expect PATRIORTRISM and discourage corruption in an environment like this?

  • Kelly

    I gave up on this Government long time. Whenever you think they have done the worst, they will come up with another tragedy. Why?? Even the so called pastor vice president is deceiving the boy. I no just get word to define these gangs again!!

  • Alpha

    I have always stood by anything this government does not because it is always right but because I feel they have always been done with the best intentions. This one, I honestly cannot defend. If a man’s word cannot be taken serious, he is doomed. PMB, please redeem yourself.

  • Musa M. Dantsoho

    The fake Yakubu Galadima should better adopt another name for himself. No sensible person would trust an ordinary lawyer with such anticipated amount of money.
    A four-one-niner elsewhere using media to get true identity of beneficiary so as to set armed robbers or assassins after him and the family.
    Woe unto any criminal posing as the beneficiary in the media.

    • Frank Bassey

      You have said absolutely nothing. Are you sure you understood the matter?

      • Musa M. Dantsoho

        It is those who prefer turning things upside down didn’t understand the matter.
        There was indication in Magu’s statement in Australia, the young beneficiary was undergoing some counselling. This clearly shows the money is yet to reach the beneficiary at that point of that speech.
        It is mischievous if a day after, sensible mind should believe someone disowning something else.

  • Abdussalami Yaro

    Lawyer, Lawyer, Lawyer! Once a Lawyer always a Lawyer. Very uncanny Lawyer. The Lawyer wants to chop from where he did not blow.

    • Frank Bassey

      This is the most irresponsible comment on this matter. Holistically irresponsible.

  • serubawon70

    Who will not go crazy if he has never seen one million before and suddenly he is dreaming of eighty five million and it becomes reality then disappears before he can even touch one naira

    • kaydutch

      lol

  • Frank Bassey

    Another kudos to Premium Times. The more this government tries to hide its head in the dust, the more it is being exposed by its iniquities.
    This is why I am not happy about the elaborate 60th birthday splash of your Publisher. He is doing a sacrificial job and should learn to forego unnecessary luxury.

  • Moss Malone

    Why must everything be so dirty in this country? Even the VP whom I thought says the “right things” blanked him out. If a lawyer could not get to him, what chance does the ordinary person has in reaching his or her governor? MADNESS.

    Are you tracing my movements on the net, LCC/BACIL?