The Ikoyi whistle-blower who informed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission of the $43m, N23.2m and £27,800 (N13bn) recovered from an Ikoyi apartment in Lagos says he will not accept the N325 million being offered by the government.
His lawyer Yakubu Galadima, who made this known at a press conference said his client will not accept anything below five per cent commission.
Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, the Secretary of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, had at an event on Thursday titled, ‘Tracking Noxious Funds’, organised by Kent University Law School and Human and Environmental Development Agency, explained that any whistle-blower, who helped the government to recover anything above N1bn would receive less than five per cent commission.
Owasanoye, who was part of the team that drafted the whistle-blower policy had said, “If you blow the whistle and the government recovers cash, you are entitled to between 2.5 per cent and five per cent. The maximum limit is five per cent.
“According to the policy, if you blow the whistle and it is below N500m, you get four to five per cent because the higher the amount that is recovered, the lower the percentage that is given. This is the global best practice.
“If the recovery is between N500m and N1bn, you get three to four per cent (commission). If it is N1bn and above, it is 2.5 per cent. Indeed, there is a clause that we included in the policy to say that the government may determine the amount to be awarded based on other criteria provided that the amount to be awarded doesn’t exceed five per cent. In other words, the government may actually pay less than 2.5 per cent but nobody can be paid more than five per cent.”
Commenting on this government position, lawyer to the Ikoyi whistle-blower said his client would not accept anything less than five per cent.
When asked if his client would accept anything less than five 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 said that the commission should be paid based on the exchange rate at the time the money was recovered and not the current one.
Indications have emerged that the Ministry of Finance is awaiting the final clearance from the EFCC before it can pay the Ikoyi whistle-blower.
Officials in the ministry said 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 could be delayed as administrative work was still ongoing on the issue.
The official said the ministry had put in place 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 must be verified, adding that there would be calculation of the amount payable and computation of relevant taxes.
The source stated, “The ministry of finance is not directly involved in the recovery of looted fund; that is the responsibility of the various security agencies.
“Our role is to make payment and you will 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 can be released when we receive confirmation from the agency that made the recovery before we can know who to pay money to.
“In the case of the Ikoyi recovery, we are talking of the EFCC which is the agency that made the recovery and once they give us final confirmation, payment would be made.”