According to The Nation, a whistle-blower, John Okupurhe, has urged President Buhari to direct the Attorney-General of the Federation Abubakar Malami to pay his commission after he exposed $1billion (over N387billion) hidden in a bank by a Federal Government agency.
In a June 22 letter by his lawyer, Aliyu Lemu, he said the account was secretly operated by the agency to illegally collect revenue from vessels.
Lemu said his client notified the Office of the AGF of the secret account in line with the whistle-blower policy, and that an agreement was reached to pay him a commission if the information proved credible.
“Pursuant to the whistleblower policy of the Federal Government, our client approached the Office of the AGF with confidential information in respect of hidden public funds concealed in a commercial bank in Lagos contrary to the Treasury Single Account policy which requires all public revenue or funds to be domiciled in the Central Bank of Nigeria.
“Our client presented the Office of the AGF with qualifying information on a cloned account…”
The lawyer said the account was being used to illegally collect revenue from vessels by the signatories who are no longer in the service of the agency.
“Upon establishing that our client’s information qualified under the whistle-blower policy, the Office of the AGF signed a whistle-blower agreement with our client through his appointed counsel – Mamman, Maiyaki & Co.
“The information provided by our client eventually led to the exposure of the hidden/concealed funds in Unity Bank Plc to the tune of $1,034,515, 000.”
The whistle-blower said the Office of the AGF had not honoured its part of the deal.
He said the Head of Asset Management and Recovery Unit, Mrs Ladidi Mohammed, informed him that plans had changed because the matter was in court, but she did not say who filed the suit or which court it was filed.
“On the next day, one Ms Bunmi, who deputises for Mrs Mohammed, called our client and asked him to come alone without a lawyer. Upon arrival, she informed our client that there was no pending matter in court on the account.”
The whistleblower said the Office of the AGF recommended a private firm to help him get the funds, following which he was made to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the company to forfeit 60 per cent of his reward.
Okupurhe said armed policemen attacked his lawyer in his office and took away the original copy of the agreement signed with the AGF.
He urged the President to quickly intervene as failure to pay him could compromise the whistleblower policy.
Reacting on Sunday, the Office of the AGF said it only pays whistle-blowers after successful recovery, not for mere tracing or exposure of suspected illegitimate funds.
Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Office, Dr. Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, said in a statement: “The Office of the AGF wants to make it categorically clear that one does not get payment on account of exposing looted assets, but on successful recovery and lodgment of same into the designated assets recovery account at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).”