Yakubu Galadima, lawyer to the man who blew the whistle on the stash of money recovered from an apartment in Ikoyi, Lagos, said his client is yet to receive a penny.
Corroborating the claim of Chidi Odinkalu, who said the whistleblower’s life could be in danger, Galadima, speaking to Premium Times, said he’s been moving the whistleblower from one place to another to hide him.
Responding to Ibrahim Magu, acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), who said the whistleblower was now a millionaire, Galadima said it was untrue. He said:
The truth is that this guy has not been paid a penny.
In fact, from April till date, the guy has been living under my meagre resources, his security was just zero. I’ve had to relocate this guy from one place to another so nobody knows his whereabouts.
He relayed the story of the whistleblower, saying he had been approached by the whistleblower, accompanied by friends.
They had planned to burgle the Ikoyi property, he said, but he managed to dissuade them. He said:
I was the one that advised them that, you don’t do that because that will amount to crime. That since there is a policy of the federal government, let us exploit that avenue.
I took them, we went to the Commission, discussed with them, they said they were going to give the boy a form to fill and that if the story turns out to be false that the guy will go to jail. We said no problem, we undertook and we signed.
The next day, we went to the house, all of us were all shivering thinking there was nothing inside. And then we started to discover all sorts of money in different denominations, pounds, dollars, naira.
These monies were all recovered and taken to the Commission. It was counted. They brought a staff of CBN and he came and counted the money.
The moment the final forfeiture was made, I wrote a comprehensive letter to Magu, attaching the judgement, and said court has made a final forfeiture, where is the reward and commission of the whistleblowers?
In fact, the letter was addressed to the Acting President then through the Office of the Acting Chairman since the money was recovered by the EFCC. That was the first letter.
A month later, I wrote a reminder. It was after that reminder that they said we should bring the boy to Abuja. We took the boy to Abuja, he had one on one interface for the first time with the acting president. We went together with the acting chairman.
The acting president congratulated him for a job well done and that with the money they’ll pay him, he’s now a millionaire. We all laughed.
But when the time came for the whistleblower to receive his money, the EFCC claimed he was mentally unstable.
The whistleblower began receiving death threats, Galadima added. He said:
The day we went to the office of the acting president, they gave him a number that he can reach them at any time. So he has been communicating with the acting president. Following the threats, they detailed some SSS to be working around him,.
He was later taken to the SSS facility at Shangisha, Lagos, and given an apartment.
Because the guy had always been looking forward to seeing this money and it wasn’t forthcoming, he started shouting. When he started shouting, they said he’s mad, that he’s having a mental problem.
The SSS people called me and said I should come and carry my luggage. They brought him to the EFCC and abandoned him there. The EFCC people called me that I should come and carry my client.
When he arrived at the EFCC office, he was informed that his client was mentally ill. They planned to take him to the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital in Yaba, Galadima said.
I said he’s not mad, that it’s because you people are holding his money that’s why he’s reacting this way.
They insisted the guy is mad, that they have to take him to a psychiatric hospital, they bundled this man. I said ok, if that’s how to prove that he’s not mad, no problem, we went to the psychiatric hospital in Yaba.
They injected him and said they have to monitor him for a month. They monitored him for a month. The day they were going to release him, the EFCC called me again to come and carry my “critical asset.”
This was a boy I never knew from Adam. I said ok, I went to the EFCC the guy said he’s ok there’s no problem anymore, they handed him over to me three weeks ago. Ever since then, I pay money into his account on a weekly basis for his upkeep.
Galadima has since written to President Muhammadu Buhari, informing him of the EFCC’s failure to pay his client.
The letter, made available to Premium Times, read:
I have written twice while you are away receiving treatment to the Acting President through the office of the Acting Chairman of the EFCC on 7th June 2017 and 24th July 2017 respectively.
Please note that the discovery (of the money) was a result of my client’s efforts and consequently, I respectfully urge Your Excellency to use your good offices to facilitate the prompt payment of the reward/commission due to my clients.
He added that the amount owed to his client is N850 million, not N350 million. He said:
Because the money discovered was about N17 billion and not N13 billion that is being declared. It was calculated as at the time the money was recovered.