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General News of Friday, 19 March 2021

Source: Pulse

Stop wasting EFCC's time - Bawa warns false whistleblowers

The chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa has warned whistleblowers to stop distracting the agency with false and misleading information.
The Federal Government's whistleblowing policy allows members of the public to provide information about financial malpractice, mismanagement of public funds, fraud, and other such violations to authorities.

A whistleblower responsible for providing authorities with information that directly leads to the recovery of stolen public funds and assets may be entitled to between 2.5% to 5.0% of amount recovered.

The policy has led to the recovery of millions of naira, but Bawa said in a statement on Friday, March 19, 2021 that some whistleblowers are misleading the EFCC with false information.

The 40-year-old said the anti-graft agency has been wasting limited resources to chase down false leads that always leave investigators frustrated.

"Noting that the Whistleblower Policy was not designed as a tool for unscrupulous citizens to send law enforcement agencies on wild goose chase or set them against their perceived enemies, he (Bawa) vowed that the EFCC will not hesitate to prosecute any whistle blower who willfully provides the agency with false information," the EFCC said on Friday.

Bawa advised genuine informants to be cautious and ensure that they have accurate information before engaging with the agency.

He also noted that the Directorate of Intelligence, which was recently created, will ensure that all information received by the EFCC is subjected to rigorous due diligence before action is taken.

Bawa's warning comes a day after the EFCC arraigned three men in court for alleged false whistleblowing against the former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh.

The anti-graft agency arraigned Theophilus Omambala, Lawal Umar, and Alexander Danjuma before the FCT High Court on one count charge bordering on false and misleading information on Thursday, March 18.

The agency said the trio gave false, untrue, and misleading information to its officers regarding monies stashed at Ogbeh's residence in the Lugbe District of the capital city.

The defendants, accused of committing an offence punishable under Section 39(2) (b) of the EFCC Establishment Act (2004), pleaded not guilty.

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