We never said whistleblower had been paid- EFCC

Photo of the N49 million cash intercepted at Kaduna International Airport, being displayed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, at their Kaduna Zonal Office on Tuesday.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has denied saying the Ikoyi whistleblower had been paid.

The informant had provided intelligence that led to the recovery of $43.5 million, £27,800 and N23.2 million stashed in an apartment on Osborne Towers in Ikoyi, Lagos on April 7.

By the Federal Government’s whistleblower policy that took effect in December 2016 informants are entitled to between five per cent of the looted money they helped to recover.

In an earlier statement Thursday, the EFCC spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, quoted the EFCC acting chairman as saying in Vienna, Austria, that the Ikoyi whistleblower had become a millionaire by “virtue of the percentage he is officially entitled to”.

“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 good use of the money and also the security implication.

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“We don’t want anything bad to happen to him after taking delivery of his entitlement. He is a national pride,” he reportedly told a United Nations anti-corruption conference.

But the lawyer to the informant countered the EFCC boss, saying his client had not been paid.

Speaking to PREMIUM TIMES, the lawyer, Yakubu Galadima, said his client had instead been badly treated.

Mr. Galadima said authorities were claiming his client was mentally ill and had refused to pay him his due of about “N850 million”.

Mr. Uwujaren, said in a statement on Friday that Mr. Magu did not claim the whistleblower had been paid his compensation.

“What Magu said at the 7th Session of the Council of State Parties to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption in Vienna, Austria,  was that citizens should be encouraged to embrace whistleblowing because of the incentives attached.

“To illustrate this, he stated that the gentleman who provided the information that triggered the huge recovery at Osborne Towers in Ikoyi was already a millionaire based on the incentive in the whistle blower policy where information providers are entitled to between 2.5 and 5 per cent of the recovered sum.

“Magu never said that the young man has been paid. The commission is not even directly responsible for the payment of rewards to whistle blowers,’’ he said.

The EFCC spokesman said the exact amount recovered in the Osborne Towers operation was never a subject of controversy as the counting of the money was streamed live.

He said the counting was also witnessed by the whistleblower, security at the towers and representative of the agency which claimed ownership of the money.

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