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FG confused over who's the real whistleblower - Lai Mohammed

The minister said the government is still trying to decide who the real whistleblower is.

While speaking during his visit to Leadership Newspaper on Tuesday, November 29, 2017, the minister revealed that the complication to paying the statutory 5% has been due to the issue of multiple claimants.

He said, "It is a bit complicated because more than one person is claiming the money and we do not want to disclose the identity of the Whistle blower.

"‘We have a very unique situation in our hand at the moment; it is so complex and complicated. One said we should not pay the other and the other one has gone to court.

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"Now we have the authentic whistle blower and fake whistle blower, we hope to find out the real person.

"Ordinarily, a whistle blower should be anonymous. However, we are working very closely to ensure that such thing never happens again."

During the visit, he also clarified the compensation modality as contained in the whistleblower policy, saying any whistle-blower whose information leads to recovery of up to N1 billion will receive 5% of the amount.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), he said the reward for any amount between N1 billion and N5 billion is 5% for the first N1 billion and 4% of the remaining N4 billion. The minister added that any amount above N5 billion will attract a 2.5% reward.

Payment controversy

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While speaking at the 7th Session of the Conference of States Parties to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption in Austria, on Thursday, November 9, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, said the whistleblower is already a millionaire by virtue of the percentage he was officially entitled to.

The unnamed whistleblower behind the discovery of $43.5 million, £27,800 and N23.2 million from an Ikoyi apartment at No. 16 Osborne Road, in Lagos responded by publicly condemning the EFCC for failing to pay him his 5% commission as stipulated in the Whistleblower Policy.

Through his lawyer, Yakubu Galadima, the whistleblower said the agency had failed to pay him and instead had subjected him to unfair treatment.

He also dismissed reports that he would receive N350 million reward, saying that the actual figure was N850 million.

In response to the public condemnation that trailed the development, Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, clarified the government's position, explaining that the whistleblower in question is part of the batch that would be paid in November.

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She explained that failure to pay the whistleblower was a procedural one and that more than 20 people have already been paid under the provision of the policy.

Since the public spat started, another person has laid claim to being the real whistleblower and has dragged the EFCC to court, with the Federal Ministry of Finance, and the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), also joined as respondents in the suit.

History of Ikoyi loot

The loot was recovered by officials of the EFCC in Flat 7B, No. 16, Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos during a raid on Wednesday, April 12, 2017.

A lot of controversy trailed the discovery of the loot, with public outcry, especially on social media, demanding that the culprits be brought to book.

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The loot was initially claimed to belong to the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) when its director Ayodele Oke said that the amount in the apartment was marked for covert operations. After President Muhammadu Buhari suspended Oke and set up a three-man panel headed by Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, to properly investigate the matter, he was sacked on October 30.

The issue became even more controversial when Senator George Sekibo, a lawmaker who represented Rivers East senatorial district at the time, appeared at plenary with a whistle, claiming that the loot belongs to the Rivers state government.

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wikefurther claimed ownership of the funds which he alleged were misappropriated from the state by his predecessorRotimi Amaechi.

Former aviation minister, Fani Kayode,and spokesperson of Ekiti State governor, Ayodele FayoseLere Olayinka also insisted that the apartment where the loot was found belonged to Amaechi. The current Minister of Transportation strongly denied the claims.

The loot has also been linked to former chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)Adamu Mu'azu;  senator representing Lagos west,  Solomon Adeola; and an ex-managing director of Petroleum Products Pricing and Marketing Company (PPMC), Esther Nnamdi-Obue.

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On June 6, JusticeSule Hassan of a Federal High Court division in Lagos ordered the final forfeiture of the monies recovered to the Federal Government.

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