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Economy of whistle blowing

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The Editor of the Guardian, Mr. Abraham Ogbodo

The Editor of the Guardian, Mr. Abraham Ogbodo

There is big business in town that could change the equation overnight. It is simple to transact too. It works this way. If one man, likely a poor man, can prove that another man, who is very wealthy, has stolen N100 billion from government to add to his wealth, he that has asserted and proven, walks home with N5billion, being 5 per cent of N100billion, just like that. And it is legitimate earning, because there is a new policy that allows for that percentage of recovered stolen money to be given to him or her, also called a whistleblower that facilitated the recovery.

The Nigeria public has President Muhammadu Buhari to thank for this new way of making money. I have always known the man to be kind-hearted, but each time I say this, cynics will call for my head. Maybe the problem has to do with communication. Apparently, time has come for Buhari to step-up to a vocal or more measurable mode, instead of this body language thing so that others outside Alhaji Lai Mohammed can understand him too.

For instance, much as he tried to push the responsibility elsewhere, critics have tied the current economic hardship in the land to him. I don’t know why they are doing this to him. The man has been around for only 18 months. Nigerians should take it easy with Buhari. Agreed he had said so many sweet things during his campaign to become president, he has also repeatedly explained the dilemma of a 74-year old man in the middle of a fast-pacing operation.

The result is a crushing recession that is threatening to dip into a depression. Helpless, Buhari has been doing a great deal of policy juggling to create some succor. Nothing seems to be working out perfectly though. Importation of certain items have been banned and unbanned for close to a dozen times without generating the momentum to re-jig the anemic economy. There were also bailouts to states to bring them up to date with salary obligations, but as we talk and even on a Christmas day, 33 out of the 36 state governments have not paid salaries of their workers with some actually owing arrears.

Given this backdrop of failed past efforts to put money in people’s pockets, the Buhari’s policy of five per cent accruals to whistleblowers from recovered looted public fund should be encouraged. In fact, the only bad thing about the policy is that it is coming too late in the day. If this had been in place before the start of the recovery of the Abacha loot, a stupendous amount would have been earned and ploughed back to the economy to give it a kick by some whistleblowers.

Because what Abacha looted was humongous, the recovery has been in phases. I cannot say exactly the phase it has reached right now, but overall estimates put recovery at above one billion United States dollars. Five per cent of that is $50 million and that is what Nigerians have lost. Even so, the matter cannot be rested like that. I am sure some people blew whistle many times over or even sounded a gong that led to the massive recovery in Switzerland and elsewhere. Therefore, for peace to reign, this five per cent policy must be made retroactive the same way the decree on death sentence for drug trafficking was made in 1984 when Buhari was military head of state.

That is the meaning of equity. You cannot claim to be fighting corruption on one hand and on the other hand denying people of their legitimate earnings. I do not want to be a party to that kind of monkey business. Having said this, I want to formally signify my intention to blow the whistle still on the Abacha loot. So far, government has focused on loot deposited in banks. I am therefore asking the Federal Government through all its agencies for recovery of looted public fund to leave the bank deposits alone and come to home deposits. With or without a warrant, a search should be conducted in all the houses belonging to Abacha for monies far beyond the threshold of petty cash that may be lying fallow in the houses.

Report that a housemaid of the widow of the late head of state bolted with some millions she picked casually in the wardrobe could constitute a lead. I have a few more things to say. Here is a government looking for whistle blowers to give five per cent of recovered monies. Didn’t government hear when some people (a judicial commission of enquiry actually) blew the whistle on Rotimi Amaechi and his ‘misdeeds’ as governor of Rivers State? Another was sounded on the incumbent Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Yusuf Buratai a thousand times over. Even now, two whistles have been loudly blown. One was on the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), David Babachir Lawal, calling attention to how he has been handling business at the camps of Internally Displaced Persons in the Northeast. The other was on Ibrahim Magu, which made the Senate to withhold his confirmation as substantive chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

I can’t get it. Which whistle is government asking to be blown? Is it the type used by referees in football game? I use this opportunity to call on all the whistleblowers in the above instances to follow up and earn their legitimate five per cent commission on the loot that shall be recovered, isha allah, from quarters so named.

All things being equal, I should also have some outstanding with government in this regard. Last two years, at the height of the Boko Haram carnage and the attendant helplessness of the Nigerian military, I had done a-two part article on this page to state how the huge defence budgets over the decades had been mismanaged. I returned with the verdict that if the budgets had been appropriately channeled to building institutional capacity and capability, the Boko Haram insurgency could have been far less challenging to the military.

Buhari came in 2015 to begin a probe of the utilisation of budgets under successive leadership of the military. Although the effort did not go far enough into time, I can legitimately claim, and I stand to be contradicted, that the probe, which has yielded good returns, is a consequence of the whistle I had blown earlier. In effect, I am asking the finance minister, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, to make full disclosures regarding monies recovered in the military probe so that I can present my claims. I can also say right away that some people ably aided by the Lagos State Government have stolen substantial part of the Atlantic Ocean in the name of creating a new city within Lagos City that will be called Atlantic City. I do not know how the five percent will be computed in this case but I deserve my dues all the same for blowing the whistle on the stolen Atlantic Ocean.

We should play by the rules if we really desire to create a good economy around the five percent policy. Nobody should be short-changed. It can even be planned to make everybody a winner. For instance, I can facilitate my friend, Eddy Odivwri, to loot N10 billion, which he puts in a bank and gets a hefty 15 percent interest upfront. I return to blow the whistle on him and he returns the N10 billion intact to government from which I earn my N500million (5 per cent) and government gets N9.5billion instead of losing everything. Perfect deal! Nobody is fatally hurt!



5 Comments
  • vincentumenyiora

    [The Nigeria public has President Muhammadu Buhari to thank for this new way of making money. I have always known the man to be kind-hearted, but each time I say this, cynics will call for my head. Maybe the problem has to do with communication. Apparently, time has come for Buhari to step-up to a vocal or more measurable mode, instead of this body language thing so that others outside Alhaji Lai Mohammed can understand him too.

    For instance, much as he tried to push the responsibility elsewhere, critics have tied the current economic hardship in the land to him. I don’t know why they are doing this to him. The man has been around for only 18 months. Nigerians should take it easy with Buhari. Agreed he had said so many sweet things during his campaign to become president, he has also repeatedly explained the dilemma of a 74-year old man in the middle of a fast-pacing operation.]

    Interesting reading the last paragraph but that is not the intention of the policy even at that, the time factor will come into effect to determine if you’re going to have the 5% or not if they know what the aim is to achieve! I could easily qualify as the leader of for the obvious that I satisfied the conditions going by the euphemism – finding solution to solve vexed problems in societies! You can at least agree that I have contributed immensely towards this even with the whistle blower idea and all are contained in my publication especially that titled “A Home grown DEMOCRATIC approach for….!” If you can look it up on my website;
    http://www.virgo-enterprised.com you will see whom I had in mind in the publication and the date it was created! I don’t think anybody has the better advantage than me (Vincent) to be entitled for the percentage award going by what is achieved or going to be achieve in Nigeria from my contributions so far including need for the whistle blower!

    What I’ll give as an advice is for the government to do more on this issue of whistle blower is to extend it to those in the DIASPORA some of them are living in the houses in the United Kingdom, the U.S. France, Germany and other Cities in Europe owned by Nigerian politicians and public servants – purchased with Nigeria’s foreign funds! Nigeria should ask the Nigerians to name or write in to tell the authorities where these properties are and who owns them! If you cannot get the funds the Home Government must let you collect Rents or taxes from the Houses just as the do to the Houses owned by their own citizens living outside their home territories! That way will not only have records of the houses and their locations so that when the owners die or the houses sold, you can still collect taxes on them! If you can do this you will have succeeded in creating a permanent sources of foreign exchange for your people back in Africa they can fall back on in time of Budget planning! But then you need to change to Parliamentary system so that the Opposition people will equally know what is happening in the administration and that it is one-sided – the policy will affect everybody involved in Nigeria – you will see this idea in one of my publications!

  • Ogom

    “For instance, I can facilitate my friend, Eddy Odivwri, to loot N10 billion, which he puts in a bank and gets a hefty 15 percent interest upfront. I return to blow the whistle on him and he returns the N10 billion intact to government from which I earn my N500million (5 per cent) and government gets N9.5billion instead of losing everything. Perfect deal! Nobody is fatally hurt!”

    Nigerians are experts at easily spotting loopholes, but we deliberately and repeatedly design systems open to exploitation.

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  • Ralph

    Nothing original in the article. I pointed out this loophole days ago: “A blanket 5% is a bit arbitrary. It may lead to collusion. Assume Mr A and Mrs B hatch a plan to steal 1bn NGN. If Mrs B blows the whistle she gets 50m NGN and Mr A goes to jail. In 5 years he’s out and collects his cut from Mrs B (all things being equal). That doesn’t seem much. Assume the amount looted is 10bn, 5% becomes 500m NGN. That then becomes a temptation/an incentive. So the 5% should be graded/capped and thoroughly investigated for culpability of ‘whistleblowers’. There should also be a claw back clause, just in case”. www(dot)vanguardngr(dot)com/2016/12/whistle-blower-receive-5-loot-recovered-fg/

  • vincentumenyiora

    FOR YOUR NEW YEAR thinking so as to avoid the possibility of a flood-gate effect or the ‘can or warm’ opening, due to the new policy and my comment earlier! If you succeed here whenever the time you do, your ‘liquidity ratio’ will be assured the more – i.e. making use of the possible avenues for taxes or revenue (currencies) collection for Nigeria coming from foreign Lands! This is of vital importance if you can achieve it and please remember who submitted the solution at the critical moment of your austerity measures/ policies!!

    See what you can gain from whistle blowing if you are clever enough about how to go about it in Europe and the United States of America as I proposed it earlier! Apparently it is PART OF MY SOLUTIONS AGAINST CORRUPTION AND HOW TO RECOVER THE FUNDS ‘SEEMINGLY’ LOST/TUCKED AWAY IN EUROPE AND AMERICA! My solution portends a two-pronged attempt/ plan to get as much benefits from the policy of ”whistle blowing!’ Individual efforts or revelation not withstanding, what you get from the authorities would be more effective and will cost you less to achieve because you’ll be dealing with less number of such blowers than the ‘wider-afield’ approach through individuals particularly outside the shores of Nigeria! To help you again – am doing all this for POSTERITY! It is like what they say in our local parlance thus – ‘Monkey see monkey do’, folks! I realized that in all of my solutions and or suggestions the government authorities (officials) have gone with them and not quite made the desired success with them trying to figure out, by trial and errors, what the imports are in the true sense of my thinking – they made parody of the ideas; and you wonder why not call the owners of these solutions. I mean if you can employ your friends or relations to figure out/ decipher what (purpose) they (my solutions) are intended to serve in Nigeria – I mean, to tell you exactly what they mean in the contents of their solutions/ panaceas! That way it will save you costs and time to get on with ways to solve the problems posed in Nigeria!

    And so, like my ‘Option A-4’ and the adjuncts – they have not challenged the assertions, the common pool – (TSA), the National Orientation mantra “Nun Sibi Sed Aliis!” – i. e. ‘Change begins with them!’, and the last week’s “First Lady’s” wish for women’s role in the struggle to rid Nigeria from corruption. I am doing this to leave a mark once more on the sands of history of ‘solutions finding’ in Nigeria – for POSTERITY, if you like! The whistle blower in Europe for properties purchased or owned by Nigerians will yield you more dividend if you dealt with the Borough Councils direct not withstanding that the individuals should still serve as informants, because you will be dealing with officials on government to government basis and therefor you will be compelled to keep records of the informations gathered in Nigeria as in my Asset Declaration idea I talked about (raised) already, and not an avenue for groups to engage in unfounded witch-hunting, which Nigerians are noted for – i. e. if you heard from the Government officials from Europe or the U.S. to confirm such reports/ disclosures, it would be more authentic than wasting time with “hear-says” from individuals unless where there is a clear proof backed with official documents and not that A, B, or C, said kind of information likely to be peddled under this new policy declaration! If you can do this you will deal with a limited but accurate number of vital and the all important information required for this exercise! Am sure a good number of Nigerians would be wondering why this kind of comment, Yes, I felt I should state the fact before somebody comes forward and claim it to be his or their idea all because (albeit) I had posted it in my one of my publications much earlier!

    Like my observation is and you’ll probably agree in the experience of solutions-finding in Nigeria it looks more like that saying _ ‘Monkey see monkey do!’ from my side of the experiences, folks!