He was clearheaded when he blew the whistle that helped the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to recover N13bn taxpayers’ money that was stashed away in an Ikoyi flat by some crooked government officials, but the Presidency on Monday called the whistle-blower a man of unstable mind.
The Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), stated this as he pitiably struggled for reasons to justify the refusal of President Muhammadu Buhari’s government to pay the whistle-blower.
He told the Punch, “What I gathered from my inquiry is that the man is not sufficiently stable to receive such a huge sum of money. He is like someone who will almost run mental when he gets the money and will use it in an irresponsible manner, attracting not only undesirable people but even danger to himself.
Mr. Sagay claimed that the Federal Government deliberately delayed payment because he needed to be adequately counselled before such amount would be handed over to him.
If the commission, which the whistle-blower claims is N860m, was given to him immediately, he probably would have squandered it within a month or two, Sagay said.
He added, “I think what they wanted to do for him was to provide counsellors. Not just counsellors for character and mental situation but counsellors who would be like consultants that would help him to really invest the money and plan in such a way that he doesn’t throw it away in five minutes.
“They are trying to help him. Nobody is denying him anything. They are trying to help him but he just misunderstands the intention and like everyone that has been deprived for a long time, he is so desperate to have it, but from what I can see, if they just give him everything, it won’t last more than a month or two because so many people will start finding ways to get to him and taking their portions from him. So, they were just trying to help him but he became hysterical.”
The presidential adviser said he has told the Federal Government to pay the whistle-blower in tranches, adding that such a method of payment would deter him from spending it all at once.
“It is better to pay him in tranches. I agree with the government because if not, he will throw it away. This is valuable money that government could have used for millions of unemployed and wretchedly poor people.
“One man is getting it and he just wants it so that he can blow it all in five minutes? No, the government has a responsibility to see that his excitement does not end in seeing the money being thrown away irresponsibly. So, I agree with the government,” he said.
Mr. Sagay’s position is shocking. It is a case of self-righteousness and extending unsolicited care and counsel to a full-fledged adult – who should be at liberty to squander his money if he so wishes. Sagay’s worries is a case of a person taking paracetamol for another person’s headache.
Meanwhile, the whistleblower is threatening to drag the Federal Government to court over its refusal to honour its obligation towards him. According to a policy adopted by Buhari’s government, a whistleblower is entitled to 5% commission should his tip-off lead to recovery of public money.