*Another claimant writes Finance Ministry, wants payment of reward suspended
BY CHARLES KUMOLU
One week after the Federal Government promised to reward the person who provided the information leading to the discovery of $43.5 million, £27,800 and N23.2 million stashed at No. 16 Osborne Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, information available to Sunday Vanguard suggests that the government is yet to reach out to the whistle-blower.
Sunday Vanguard further discovered that another individual, Mr. Abdulmumuni Musa, who claimed to have revealed the existence of the money to the EFCC, has already written to the Ministry of Finance, pleading that the payment of the reward be withheld until his name is included as a whistle-blower.
He also contradicted claims that the principal whistle-blower, Mr. Stephen Sunday, has a mental problem, adding that he only knew him as a lover of alcohol.
However, Mr. Yakubu Galadima, the lawyer to the prime whistle-blower, who told Sunday Vanguard that the federal government was yet to get across to his client, said: “They have my numbers but I have not heard anything from them. I don’t want to preempt them. I am waiting for the end of the month when they promised to pay. People have called me and even sent sms that I should add the name of the person who did not provide primary information. He does not even work at the apartment where the money was found. He is just an estate agent in Ikoyi. He suggested that they should burgle the place. There is a form that the EFCC gives to people who provide information, ask him if he was given any form to complete.”
On his part, Abdulmumuni, who wants his name included, to enable him benefit from the reward, told Sunday Vanguard that “this thing started in 2016. I am an estate agent. Sunday is my friend. He informed me that there is money in the apartment where he was working. He said there was a woman who often came to the apartment with an old taxi. Sunday said there was a day he helped the woman to take some luggage to the apartment, adding that it was on that way that he discovered the money. There was even a cleaner who was aware of that but I will not mention his name. He knew the exact time that the woman was always comming to the fiat.
“Sunday, who worked there as a security man, said his intention was to burgle the place but I discouraged him. I was the one, who introduced Bala and asked if he knew someone at the EFCC. He said he knew an EFCC informant (name withheld). We eventually went to the EFCC where we met two officials (names withheld). They said their boss was not around and asked us to come the next way. When we repeated the visit, the 2-i-C interrogated me and told me the implication if the information is not real. I said that I spent months working on it. The man listened to me mostly because he discovered that Bala and Sunday were novice. They said they would c all any of us when they have gotten warrant from their boss. They said that when they call one person, he should call others. But the EFCC called Sunday without my knowledge on the day of the operation. I read about it in the papers and called Sunday who denied that EFCC called him. They even gave him N500,000 on that day which he lavished in a hotel.
“I didn’t know him as a mad person. I was surprised when I learnt that he was taken to a psychiatric hospital. I know that he loves alcohol so much. I wrote the Ministry of Finance because it is my right. I was the one who ensured that the place was not burgled. The EFCC knows that.”
When Sunday Vanguard called the spokesperson to the EFCC, Me Wilson Uwajuren, to verify some claims made by Mumuni, he did not pick his calls.
Vanguard had, last Thursday, reported that there was no time limit for the payment of a whistle-blower. This, analysts attributed to the non passage of the whistle-blower bill which was passed by the seventh Senate but was not assented to by then President Goodluck Jonathan.
However, Sub-section 3 of the Bill stated that “a whistleblower shall be paid within 30 days after the receipt of funds promised by his or her whistle blowing from the Attorney General’s office.”
Though the Senate had in June this year, passed the Whistle-blower Protection Act, analysts argue that the passage of a Whistle-blower law would provide the legal backing to make the policy which is currently being implemented by the Finace Ministry robust.
At the moment,there seems to be no law on the ground that clearly defines the programme.