Stamp Duty scam: HURIWA demands Emefiele’s probe

Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), Monday, said the inaction of anti-graft agencies:  Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) killed the Whistle Blower Policy.

HURIWA’s National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, in a statement, said the Whistle Blowing Policy should be sustained and adequate protection guaranteed for people exposing heists of all kinds by corrupt government officials.

The group said the inaction of anti-graft agencies like the EFCC, which concentrates on going after yahooyahoo boys and petty thieves, and the ICPC on the correct information by some whistleblowers literally killed the policy and made it lose steam,” the statement read in part.

HURIWA blamed ‘insider saboteurs’ for destroying the Whistle Blower Policy because the whistle blowers were either shortchanged of their commissions after recovery or their lives were put at risks by moles and saboteurs who leak vital information to indicted public office holders implicated for heists and warehousing of huge cash stolen off the public treasury.

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in Abuja, declared as ineffective, the Whistle Blowing Policy that was launched on December 21, 2016 by her ministry to encourage people to volunteer information about fraud, bribery, looted government funds, financial misconduct, government assets and any other form of corruption or theft to the ministry.

The policy rewards a whistleblower who provides information about any financial mismanagement or tip about any stolen funds to the ministry’s portal with 2.5 per cent to 5 per cent from the recovered funds by the federal government.

The group further demanded the invitation by law enforcement agency and investigation  of the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, who has been alleged to be in the middle of many alleged sleazes and financial impropriety including but not limited to the huge scandal relating to the collection of stamp duties as alleged by the committee investigating the circumstances surrounding alleged disappearance of massive cash belonging to Nigerians.

Onwubiko noted that, “A member of the House of Representatives, Muhammed Kazaure, had raised the alarm over the alleged theft of stamp duty proceeds running into N89 trillion, saying he is in possession of valid documents that prove the existence of such funds in CBN custody.

“Also, a recent report showed a court document that displayed that some government officials under the President Muhammadu Buhari administration hid N70 trillion in 29 banks while the CBN under Godwin Emefiele and the Attorney General of the Federation allegedly looked the other way, making them either allegedly complicit in graft or protecting the unknown thieves. Yet, the EFCC and the ICPC have suddenly gone to bed to sleep.”

According to the national coordinator, “… the powerful government officials involved in the massive heists and diversion of public fund have hired street urchins and hoodlums masquerading as civil society organisations to launch series of fake and paid protests in Abuja against the member of the House of Representatives who exposed the stamp duty scam. HURIWA demands protection of the Director General of the Department of State Services (DSS) said to be instrumental to the revelation and full disclosure of the scam involving the stamp duty proceeds.

“…Nigerians need to be constantly vigilant, demand accountability, and support those exposing these scams. These scams are the reason top government officials said the Whistle Blower Policy has failed because the officials know that whistleblowers are exposing some worms and skeletons in their cupboards.”