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Anti-graft War: Whistle-blowers to Get N2.1bn

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  • Anti-graft War: Whistle-blowers to Get N2.1bn

All things being equal, whistle-blowers are poised to get N2.1bn reward for their whistle-blowing efforts that have led to major discoveries since December 20, 2016 when the policy was inaugurated by the Federal Government, findings revealed.

It was, however, learnt that payment would only be made after the recoveries have been thoroughly investigated by the anti-graft agencies.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, had at the inauguration of the policy, said any Nigerian who gave information leading to the recovery of looted funds would be compensated by up to five per cent of the amount.

He had also laid out the compensation plan, saying informants whose information led to the discovery of up to N1bn would receive five per cent of the amount; those who gave tips leading to the discovery of between N1bn and N5bn would receive five per cent on the first N1bn and four per cent on the remaining N4bn; while those who gave information leading to the recovery of over N5bn would get 2.5 per cent of the amount.

Mohammed had further clarified that those who gave information leading to the recovery of, say, N10bn would get five per cent of N1bn, four per cent of N4bn and 2.5 per cent of the remaining N5bn.

Four months after this policy was launched, the Federal Government has recovered about N71.7bn, with informants entitled to a sum of N2.1bn, experts’ estimates have shown.

For instance, a whistle-blower’s tip had on February 3, 2017 led to the recovery of $9.8m and £74,000, totalling N3bn, belonging to a former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Andrew Yakubu.

Operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had stormed a building in Sabon Tasha in Kaduna City, where the money was stashed in a huge fire proof safe.

Going by the Federal Government’s compensation plan, the informant is entitled to five per cent of N1bn (N50m) and four per cent of the remaining N2bn (N80m), making a total of N130m.

On February 12, 2017, Mohammed said a whistle-blower’s tip had also led the government to recover $136.7m (N42bn) from an account in a commercial bank, where the money was kept under a fake account name.

Therefore, the informant is entitled to a total of N1.1bn — five per cent of N1bn (N50m); four per cent of N4bn (N160m); and 2.5 per cent of N37bn (N925m).

During the same period, the minister said another informant had given a tip which led to the recovery of N7bn and $15m (N5bn), totalling (N12bn).

The whistle-blower is therefore entitled to a total of N385m — five per cent of N1bn (N50m); four per cent of N4bn (N160m); and 2.5 per cent of the remaining N7bn (N175m).

Mohammed had also said another N1bn was recovered, so the whistle-blower is entitled to N50m, that is, five per cent of the amount.

On April 8, 2017, officials of the EFCC had recovered N449m in a shop located in the Nigerian Air Force complex, Legico, Victoria Island, Lagos, after receiving a tip-off from a whistle-blower.

Hence, the informant is entitled to N22.5m, which is five per cent of N449m.

On April 11, 2017, the EFCC had also recovered €547,730, £21,090 and N5, 648,500 (totalling N250m) from a Bureau de Change operator in Balogun Market, Lagos, after receiving a tip-off.

The whistle-blower is, therefore, eligible to be paid N12.5m, five per cent of the recovered amount.

The most recent recovery was carried out on April 12, 2017 at a flat at Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos, where EFCC operatives retrieved $43m, £27,000 and N23m (totalling N13bn).

The informant is entitled to a total of N410m, which is five per cent of N1bn (N50m); four per cent of N4bn (N160m); and 2.5 per cent of the remaining N8bn (N200m).

Therefore, since December 2016, the whistle-blowing policy has fetched informants a total of N2, 145,000,000.

When contacted, the Director of Information in the Ministry of Finance, Mr. Salisu Dambatta, said the framework for the implementation of the reward system under the whistle-blower policy was being worked on.

He said as soon as the modalities for the reward system were concluded, the government would start the implementation of the reward regime.

He said, “The Federal Ministry of Justice is finalising the modality and framework for implementing the reward policy.

“Additionally, all recoveries reported are subject to thorough investigation by the relevant agencies.

“As soon as the processes are concluded, the reward regime will be implemented in deserving cases.”

The spokesman for the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, could not be reached for comment as his telephone indicated that it was switched off.

However, a reliable source within the Federal Government said whistle-blowers would be paid once all legal hurdles had been crossed.

The source said for instance, the $9m recovered from a former Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Dr. Andrew Yakubu, was being challenged and as such, it would be premature to give the whistle-blower any money.

He said, “A lot of the recoveries made have legal obstacles which the government must overcome before paying whistle-blowers. For instance, Andrew Yakubu is challenging the Federal Government over the $9m seized from him.

“We cannot pay the whistle-blower until the money is finally forfeited to the Federal Government. So, these modalities will be worked out between the Minister of Finance and the Attorney-General of the Federation.”

Meanwhile, unemployed youths, students and many others have expressed interest in whistle-blowing, seeing it as a new money-spinner.

A Lagos-based graduate of Economics, Kola Akindemowo, said, “I wish I had an opportunity to whistle-blow, just like the guard who gave the EFCC the tip-off which led to the recovery of N13bn in Ikoyi. That’s the kind of money that has no struggle. It’s the type I want to have. I’ve been looking for a good job for the past four years.”

“I am ready to blow anything now, be it trumpet or saxophone. Whistle is too small. I see it as a new money-making machine and I envy those who had got the opportunity to key into the policy,” he added.

Another Lagos-based youth, simply identified as Chigozie, said he would be happy if he could have a chance of making money from the policy, saying, “I am looking forward to the opportunity to whistle-blow. Even if I can make just N5m, I am okay. I will use it to start my business.”

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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FG Declares June 12 Public Holiday for Democracy Day Celebration

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The Federal Government has declared Wednesday, June 12, a public holiday in commemoration of this year’s Democracy Day celebration.

The announcement was made in a statement signed by Aishetu Ndayako, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Interior, on behalf of Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, the Minister of Interior.

The statement urged Nigerians to reflect on the struggles and sacrifices of the nation’s founding fathers and to ensure that Nigeria remains a united, secure, peaceful, and indivisible entity.

“As we mark another Democracy Day in the history of our dear country, let us all reflect on the efforts of our founding fathers and ensure that Nigeria remains a united, secured, peaceful, and indivisible entity,” the statement read.

A Historic Shift

The designation of June 12 as Democracy Day dates back to June 7, 2018, when former President Muhammadu Buhari announced that the day would henceforth be celebrated as Democracy Day.

Prior to this declaration, Democracy Day was observed on May 29, the date marking the inauguration of the Fourth Republic in 1999.

President Buhari’s decision was rooted in the historical significance of June 12, 1993, the day of what is widely regarded as Nigeria’s freest and fairest presidential election.

Despite the election’s annulment by the then-military government, Buhari emphasized that the democratic credentials of the process should be honored.

Honoring a Legacy

To further commemorate the significance of June 12, Buhari posthumously awarded Chief Moshood Abiola, the presumed winner of the annulled 1993 election, with the nation’s highest honor, Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR).

The statement from the Ministry of Interior also highlighted President Bola Tinubu’s commitment to implementing positive reforms aimed at reviving Nigeria’s economy and enhancing national security.

A Call for Unity

The Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, called on all citizens and friends of Nigeria to appreciate the progress that has been made in the country’s democratic journey and to look forward to a brighter future.

“As we celebrate Democracy Day, we must appreciate the progress that has been made and remain hopeful for a better future for Nigeria’s democracy,” the minister said.

This year’s Democracy Day comes at a crucial time as Nigeria continues to navigate economic challenges and security concerns. The public holiday on June 12 provides an opportunity for Nigerians to reflect on the importance of democracy and the ongoing efforts to strengthen the nation’s democratic institutions.

As the nation prepares to observe the public holiday, there is a sense of anticipation and hope that the values of democracy will continue to guide Nigeria towards a prosperous and harmonious future.

The government’s declaration serves as a reminder of the enduring legacy of June 12 and the importance of upholding democratic principles.

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Guilty on All 34 Counts: Trump Convicted in Hush Money Case

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In a historic and unprecedented legal decision, former President Donald Trump was found guilty on all 34 counts in his “hush money” trial, making him the first former U.S. president to be convicted of a crime.

The verdict was delivered by a jury of 12 New Yorkers on Wednesday, concluding a six-week trial in Manhattan.

The charges against Trump centered around falsifying business records to cover up a $130,000 payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels before the 2016 presidential election.

The jury found Trump guilty on all counts, concluding that he authorized a scheme to falsify checks and related documents to keep the alleged affair from becoming public knowledge.

Prosecutors from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office presented evidence showing that the conspiracy to cover up the payment began during Trump’s 2016 campaign and continued into his first year in the White House.

They argued that Trump, along with his associates, created false records to mislead voters and conceal the payment.

Trump, who has consistently denied having any sexual encounter with Daniels, responded angrily to the verdict. Speaking to reporters outside the courtroom, he called the trial “a disgrace” and accused the judge of bias.

“This was a rigged trial by a conflicted judge who was corrupt,” Trump stated.

He vowed to continue fighting the verdict, saying, “The real verdict is going to be Nov. 5 by the people, and they know what happened here and everybody knows what happened here. We’ll fight to the end.”

The conviction comes at a critical time for Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president in the 2024 election. Despite the conviction, there is no constitutional barrier preventing him from running for office again.

Legal experts note that the Constitution’s requirements for presidential candidates—being at least 35 years old, a natural-born citizen, and a U.S. resident for 14 years—do not include any disqualification for being a convicted felon.

Judge Juan Merchan has scheduled Trump’s sentencing for July 11. The defense has until June 13 to submit any motions, with the prosecution required to respond by June 27.

Trump’s legal team indicated they would prefer a sentencing date in mid to late July.

Trump’s conviction adds to the already intense political climate as the nation prepares for the 2024 elections. The trial has drawn significant media attention and public scrutiny, reflecting deep divisions within American society.

The trial highlighted broader issues regarding campaign finance and the use of hush money in politics. It also raises questions about the integrity of presidential candidates and the lengths to which they might go to protect their public image.

As the legal and political ramifications of this verdict unfold, Trump’s conviction on all 34 counts marks a significant chapter in U.S. history.

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President Tinubu to Inaugurate Newly Paved Roads to Apapa, Tin Can Ports

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President Bola Tinubu is set to inaugurate the newly constructed paved roads leading to the Apapa and Tin Can Island ports in Lagos on Saturday.

This development is anticipated to bring significant relief to port users and operators who have endured years of hardship due to the previously dilapidated roads and severe traffic congestion in the area.

The commissioning of these roads marks a major milestone in the government’s efforts to improve infrastructure and boost economic activities around the nation’s busiest ports.

The newly paved roads are expected to enhance the flow of goods and services, reduce operational costs for businesses, and alleviate the chronic traffic bottlenecks that have plagued the Apapa and Tin Can Island areas.

President Tinubu, who is scheduled to arrive in Lagos on Saturday morning, will perform the inauguration as his first assignment of the day.

The ceremony signifies a commitment to addressing the infrastructural challenges that have long hindered the efficiency of Nigeria’s maritime sector.

Mohammed Koko, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), highlighted the importance of this project earlier this year.

He emphasized the NPA’s “zero tolerance for all forms of impediments to the free flow of traffic” and reiterated the agency’s dedication to improving port operations.

“Our zero tolerance for all forms of impediments to free flow of traffic is no fluke,” Koko said, noting that the rehabilitation efforts are aimed at consolidating gains achieved first in Apapa and now extending to Tin Can.

In January 2024, President Tinubu directed the Federal Ministry of Works to urgently and comprehensively repair the access roads to the Lagos Port Complex and Tin-Can Island Port Complex.

The Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola, echoed the urgency of this directive, pointing out that the poor condition of the port access roads had significantly increased internal logistics costs for importers and exporters.

“The dilapidated port access roads increase the cost of internal logistics for importers and exporters,” Oyetola noted.

The improved road infrastructure is expected to curb the exodus of businesses from the Apapa and Tin Can Island areas, which had been driven away by the severe logistical challenges.

The restoration of these critical routes is also anticipated to enhance Nigeria’s competitiveness in international trade by facilitating smoother and more efficient port operations.

Following the inauguration of the port access roads, President Tinubu is also scheduled to flag off the Lagos to Calabar coastal road project at Victoria Island in Lagos.

Also, he will virtually inaugurate the newly rehabilitated 3rd Mainland Bridge, further underscoring his administration’s commitment to revitalizing Nigeria’s infrastructure.

The series of inaugurations and project launches underscore a broader strategy to enhance connectivity, reduce operational bottlenecks, and stimulate economic growth through improved infrastructure.

The completion of the Apapa and Tin Can Island port roads is a pivotal step in this direction, promising a new era of efficiency and productivity for Nigeria’s maritime sector.

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