There is an ongoing discussion facilitated by Progressive Impact Organization For Community Development, PRIMORG, in collaboration with Africa Centre for Media and Information Literacy, AFRICMIL, about the time frame within which Whistle blowers should be compensated.
1. Once the investigative agency (EFCC, ICPC, Police, etc,) has established a prima facie case against an accused person, 25% of the money due to the Whistle blower should be paid to him or her immediately.
For example, if the Whistle blower alleged that a former Minister had a $50 million cash contract kickback or bribe in his house and the investigative agency confirms this through a search then he should be paid 25% of his entitlement immediately.
2. If the court establishes a prima facie case against the accused person another 25% should be paid the Whistle blower.
3. Upon completion of the case and the accused is convicted, the Whistle blower should be paid the balance of 50%.
4. Neither the government nor the accused person is going to lose any money if this procedure is followed even if the accused person is not convicted later. The reason is that if the government puts the initially recovered amount into an interest-yielding account in a bank, it is enough to offset the initial draw-down of 25% by the whistle blower and even the second 25% draw-down by him.
5. Unless a Whistle blower is sure of some immediate benefit, he is not likely to come forward for two reasons.
(a) Whistle blowing sometimes comes with repercussions and the Whistle blower should have some money to protect himself. He may choose to relocate from a town or even from the country.
(b) Most corruption cases in Nigeria have a lifetime of five to 12 years before they are concluded. Most Whistle blowers may not have the patience to wait for this long before being compensated.
▪️Barr Aham Njoku is the Director, Constitutional Watch. (CONSWATCH)