Wednesday’s raid by security and anti-corruption operatives on the house of Namadi Sambo, former Vice President, did not yield anything incriminating, ICIR can exclusively report.
Sambo, who was Vice President from 2010 to 2015, had his house searched by a combined team of operatives from the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC), the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and the Department of State Services (DSS).
But a source very close to one of the operatives who executed the search warrant on Sambo’s home confirmed to ICIR that the search team had been misled by a whistle-blower.
The source, an operative of Nigeria’s highly secretive security agency, said that they had gotten intelligence of illegal activities bothering on financial crimes in the former Vice President’s house and had obtained a search warrant before proceeding to his home in Kaduna.
“In the end, it turned out a false alarm because several hours of search yielded nothing,” he said.
“You already know that if we found something, it would have been in the media by now. We found nothing incriminating in the ex-VP’s house.”
THE FLIP SIDE OF WHISTLE-BLOWING
In December 2016, the Federal Government announced a policy of rewarding people who blow the whistle on corrupt people.
“The whistle-blowing policy is a programme designed to encourage anyone with information about a violation, misconduct or improper activity that impacts negatively on the Nigerian people and government to report it,” Kemi Adeosun, Minister of Finance, had said at the time.
“If there is a voluntary return of stolen or concealed public funds or assets on the account of the information provided, the whistle blower may be entitled to between 2.5% (minimum) and 5.0% (maximum) of the total amount.”
And it has yielded results. Between that time and April 2017, the Federal Government recovered at least N73 billion looted funds (using then then exchange rate of N306 to a dollar.
The amount comprises $151 million seized from a fake account in an unnamed commercial bank, N8 billion looted funds, $9.777.8 recovered from Andrew Yakubu, former Group Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), recovery of $38 million, £27,000 and N23 million from an apartment in IKoyi, N448,850 million taken from a Lagos plaza and N250 million hauled from the popular Balogun Market in Lagos and N49million recovered by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) at the stopgap Kaduna Airport.
But the policy has come with its own problems.
The security operative who spoke on Thursday blamed the “false alarm” on a whistle-blower.
“The monetary incentive predisposes the public to passing off unverified information as suspected loot. The whistle-blower’s anxiety to make money brings a lot of complications for security and anti-corruption agents.”