Reps summon Malami, finance minister over ‘fraud’ in whistleblower programme


A house of representatives committee has summoned Abubakar
Malami, attorney-general of the federation; and Zainab Ahmed, minister of
finance, over the implementation of the whistleblower policy of the federal


The committee also summoned Boss Mustapha, secretary to the
government of the federation, and “all other stakeholders” involved in the
implementation of the policy.


The government officials are to appear before the committee
and “provide clarification” on their operation of the whistleblower policy.


The policy, launched in December 2016, encourages Nigerians
to disclose information on fraud, bribery, looted government funds, financial
misconduct, and any other form of corruption to the ministry of finance.


Mark Gbillah, chairman of the committee investigating the
alleged loss of $2.4 billion in revenue from the illegal sale of 48 million
barrels of crude oil in 2015, issued the summon during a public hearing on


Ghillah said the committee received reports that Malami
received funds outside the country through the whistleblower policy but did not
remit it to the federation account.


The committee chairman also said the minister of finance
approved payments to whistleblowers which were not in accordance with what the
policy stipulates.


 “We are looking at
the issue of crude oil export in general from Nigeria for the period under
review. And we are looking at the whistleblower revelation and recoveries which
the federal government has publicly declared that they have made recoveries
from,” Ghillah said.


“A lot of what we have to investigate with regards to the
whistleblower policy is saddled with the ministry of finance and the
attorney-general of the federation.


“The responses we have received from the accountant-general
office show that the honourable minister of finance has been approving payments
to whistleblowers in percentages at variance with what the policy says they
should be paid.


“There have been allegations that the attorney-general is
being involved also in the receipt of funds from outside the country without
these funds being remitted into the federation account in line with the
provisions of the constitution.


 “And there have been
allegations that expenditures of these recoveries have also been done in
complete violation of the provision of the constitution.”



Gbillah said the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) wrote to the
committee, complaining that some agencies of the government operated their treasury
single account (TSA) without getting approval from the apex bank.


He said the CBN report was “alarming” to this because the
constitution stipulates that all revenue accruing to the federation must be
paid into the federation account.


 “The CBN made a
formal response to this committee indicating that under the TSA policy,
agencies operate their TSA account and make expenditures from these accounts
without recourse to the CBN,” he said.


“So, if recoveries are being made from whistleblower
revelation, we expect these monies to be paid into the account of the
federation as required by law and if there is any expenditure to be made, it
should come through the national assembly,” he said.


Gbillah said the committee is also expecting the appearance
of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), Nigerian Upstream
Regulatory Commission, Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency Index (NEITI),
oil and gas companies who engage in export, accountant-general of the
federation, budget office to “provide clarification to the issues under


“There are certain individuals as well that we need to
investigate. Certain whistleblower revelations show that from the Paris club
refund — hundreds of millions of dollars were paid into company account without
any record of whatever services they provided to the country and these are
things that need to be investigated,” Gbillah said.


The lawmaker said the committee will exercise its “statutory
powers” to compel the appearance of anyone who fails to honour the summon of
the lawmakers.


When contacted to comment on the development, Umar Gwandu,
Malami’s spokesperson, said his principal was “never involved” or received
funds without remitting to the government.


“Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice,
Abubakar Malami, SAN was never involved in anything that has to do with the
alleged oil products, its disposal or sharing of the resultant proceed by way
of negotiation or remittal thereof,” he said.


In December 2022, the house of representatives set up the ad
hoc committee to investigate a whistleblower’s claims that 48 million barrels
of Bonny Light crude were illegally sold in China in 2015.


The committee was also to investigate all crude oil exports
and sales by Nigeria from 2014 till date.


Gbillah had said members of the committee will travel to
countries where the whistleblowers reside to get facts on the matter and that
the identities of those who will provide the committee with information,
documents, and facts on the matter will be protected.


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