Journalism of Courage

Whistleblowers, Beware: Expect Trouble, Not Riches For False Information

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]o become a whistleblower is a tough decision to make. And no matter how much you rationalise what you are about to do, it’s impossible to be completely prepared for the repercussions that come your way.

The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) has arraigned one Abubakar Sani for providing false information to the commission.

Sani’s alleged false information led to the raid on the residence of former Vice President, Namadi Sambo, on June 28, in Kaduna by ICPC and Directorate of State Services (DSS) operatives.

The whistleblower, who was arraigned yesterday before Justice Aliyu Tukur of the Kaduna State High Court, is facing a two-count charge of providing false information and misleading a public officer while on lawful duty.

Counsel to the commission, Elijah Akaakohol, said the accused had provided the false information to an official of the commission on June 21, 2017.

Sani had told officials of the anti-corruption commission that he transported boxes of money in local and foreign currencies from Abuja airport to the house at Ungwan Rimi GRA, Kaduna in 2013, which he suspected to be ill-gotten wealth and still at the house.

The counsel added that it was based on the claim that the accused “made officers of the commission to carry out a sting operation that turned out to be false”.

Sani, who appeared at the court without legal representation, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The judge directed that the accused be remanded in prison custody and adjourned the case till Thursday, November 2, for hearing.

In May an Abuja Upper Area Court sitting in Gudu, remanded a 50-year-old whistle blower, Ahmed Echodo in prison in connection with the raid on the official Guest House of the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu in Maitama, Abuja.
Men of the Police had on May 27, raided the House in controversial circumstances.

They were said to have stormed and searched the building after which they took the steward, Mr Oliver Ogenyi, whom they met in the premises to the Inspector General of Police Special Square office in Guzape District, Abuja.

The Police admitted that it was mislead by Ahmed Echodo and Maiwa Adamu ( at large) in carrying out the operation.

According to the First Information Report (F.I.R), Echodo who pleaded not guilty to the offence of criminal conspiracy and given false information to mislead public servant was said to have conspired with Maiwa Adamu ( at large) to commit the alleged crime.

The offence, according to the Prosecution Police officer, David Taiwo, an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), is contrary to section 97(1) and 140 of the Penal Code Law.

The F.I.R reads; ” that on May 26, 2017, at about 0900hrs,  Ahmed Echodo ‘m’ aged 50 years of No. 44, Living Truth Street, Masaaka, Nassarawa state and one Maiwada Adamu now at large did conspired by informing the office of IGP, STS at Guzepe Area of the FCT, Abuja, that House No. 10 Games Street, Maitama, FCT, Abuja occupied by Oliver Ogenyi is being maintained and used for criminal activities including keeping of arms and ammunition.

Unfortunately, after the police carried out diligence execution of the search warrant, no incriminating items were found therein.  Speaking from the accused box, Echodo challenged the police to produce either a written or oral information, he made to them that they claimed to be a false information.

“They (police) have not shown me how the information was passed to them by me. Was it oral or written? When they went to the house with Wada, (now at large), I was not there, ” Echodo fumed.

The Director of Information in the Federal Ministry of Finance, Mr Salisu Dambatta, in a statement last month said it has paid N375.8 million to 20 providers of information under the Whistleblower Policy.

The payment was related to the recovery of N11.6 billion for recovered assets that had been declared free of legal disputes or litigation by the Attorney-General of the Federation, he said.

Copyright 2017 The PSN Communications Nigeria Ltd. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source.


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