The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, Sunday contradicted claims by the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, that the whistleblower whose tip-off led to the discovery of the N13 billion stash in an Ikoyi apartment has been paid.
Adeosun said the reason the whistleblower was yet to be paid was because of “detailed procedures for processing payments”, adding that the payment was “among those being processed in the November batch, which will be released within the current month.”
The finance minister said this in a statement issued by her Special Adviser, Media and Communications, Oluyinka Akintunde.
She denied claims that the government had deliberately withheld payment due the Ikoyi whistleblower.
A statement on Thursday by the spokesman for the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, had quoted Magu as saying in Vienna, Austria, that the “young man” who blew the whistle had already become a millionaire.
But reacting, Yakubu Galadima, self-identified counsel to the Ikoyi whistleblower, countered the claims, saying that his client had yet to be paid despite repeated efforts including letters to President Muhammadu Buhari and Magu.
Also, Chidi Odinkalu, human rights lawyer, dismissed the claim of Magu that the whistleblower had been compensated.
He added that the unidentified individual had been detained in three different places, alleging that the whistleblower’s life could be in danger.
Adeosun’s statement read in part, “The attention of the Honourable Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, has been drawn to media reports surrounding the payment to a whistleblower, who provided the tips that led to the recovery of funds stashed away in a property in Ikoyi, Lagos State.
“The Honourable Minister wishes to state unequivocally that the Federal Government has not withheld any fund due to any whistleblower.
“The ministry has in place detailed procedures for processing payments due under the whistleblower policy.
“The procedures were designed to prevent abuse and legal disputes and to ensure protection of the information providers.
“These procedures include an application by the agency who recovered the funds including evidence of the recovery, confirmation that there are no pending legal issues on the recovery, verification of the identity of the information provider, calculation of the amount payable and computation of relevant taxes.
“It must be stated also that payments are made in monthly batches to ensure control and to protect the identity of information providers.
“To date, over 20 of such persons have been paid. From available records, the payment due on Ikoyi is among those being processed in the November batch, which will be released within the current month.”
The whistleblower policy was introduced in December 2016 by the Federal Government as part of initiatives to increase active public participation in the fight against corruption.