Sunday, 2 July 2017

Whistleblower, Are You A Referee? (Part 2)

Click Here for Part 1

First, he began receiving numerous calls from his ex-boss, which he had refused to pick, guessing it had everything to do with the anonymous whistleblowing he had done. The EFCC had commenced their investigations full swing and started asking questions at the bank, and they must suspect he had something to do with it since he had managed the account of the politician under scrutiny. Then he received a heavily worded email from the bank’s legal department on how he had breached the bank’s policy which detailed that any information gathered while working with the bank remained the bank’s property and should not be used in ways unauthorized by the bank, and this was binding on him even after exiting the bank’s employment. The bank will therefore be taking legal actions against him.

Shocked, he had started to search for a very good lawyer to help counter their threat and also defend him if it ended up becoming a court case.

But that soon became less of a worry point for him, as an even bigger problem reared up its ugly head. Four days after he had visited the headquarters of the EFCC, they reached out to him, asking him to come to their office again. When he got there, they informed him that his claim had been investigated. They had been to the bank and asked for the owners of the ‘ghost’ accounts, and till that moment, 75% of those people had been produced by the bank already. They, the EFCC, had been able to speak with these people on the phone via the numbers attached to their accounts and had also physically met some of them at the different branches of the bank. In addition, the account owners had watertight reasons for numerously receiving huge sums of money from the politician. They had also interviewed the politician himself and his reasons for sending the people money matched their claim. So, as far as they could see, there was nothing fake about those accounts. The only fake thing seemed to be Musa’s report and once they had interrogated the remainder of the account owners, they would be hundred percent certain he was a false whistleblower and would have no choice but to prosecute him for giving them fake information.

Musa had been shocked to the depths of his being. How was it possible for the bank to produce owners of 75% of those accounts? Those accounts were fake, he was very certain of that, he had investigated himself before coming to that conclusion. The phone numbers had been non-existent, the addresses vague, and what was more, the thumbprints used had been one and the same all through, and should not have even passed the BVN process in the first place.

He knew this new development was the handiwork of either the bank or the politician, or even more likely, both of them. He really found it quite ingenious, though, how they had been able to pull up over seventy false people to claim ownership of those accounts in such a short period of time. Or was someone in the EFCC in on it with them too…?

Daddy, let us go. The plane have landed, let us go.Once again, Musa was pulled out of his deep reminisce, this time by his son who was impatiently tugging at his hand.
Lost in thoughts as he was, he had not noticed the plane landing and now people were disembarking. His wife and daughter, who had been seated at the other side of the aisle were also on their way out.

He picked up his son and their hand luggage in the overhead carriage and moved towards the plane's exit. Once in the airport terminal, he put a call across to his friend, Dare.

Ore, we have landed. Are you in the airport? he enquired. Ore was the nickname Dare used for him right from the inception of their friendship, and Musa had learnt to use the same for him as well, knowing Ore meant ‘friend’.

“Yes, I am in the waiting area. You should spot me easily. I am wearing an Arsenal jersey.”

Dare had always been a true friend. They had hitched up when Musa, a young Hausa lad, had come to the Southwest of the country for the first time, for his National Youth Service, many years back. He remembered how lost and out of place he had felt at the camp worlds away from his beloved home in Zaria, lost till this jovial, small-statured Yoruba boy had approached him and struck up a conversation with him. The two had immediately gotten close, despite being complete opposites; physically and in every way possible. Musa with his tall, lank frame and Dare with his smallish stature; Musa with his quiet and introverted ways, Dare very jovial and talkative.

Musa had always found Dare to be dependable and saw him as his go-to person whenever he had problems, needed advice or just plain needed someone to talk some sense or courage into him. That was why Dare had been the first person he had thought to call earlier in the day when it became clear his life and that of his family was in grave danger.

As Dare had promised, it was very easy locating him despite the fact that the airport terminal was very crowded.

Ore, this is some really deep shit you have gotten yourself into o,” Dare admonished after exchanging initial pleasantries with Musa and his family. They were walking ahead of Safiyah and the kids towards the airport carpark, so they could not hear them talk. “How will you do this sort of thing? Don’t you know how dangerous it is? You should have at least consulted me first and we analyze the pros and cons in-to-to before delving into it.”

Musa had to admit to himself that his friend was right. He should have consulted someone, and who better than Dare? It was just that his need to be extremely careful had made him decide to keep it a complete secret, a lot of help that ended up being.

They got to the vehicle Dare had brought, which turned out to be an Uber taxi. They all got in and it ferried them away to Dare’s home with his directions. There was silence in the car as neither men could talk about the issue on ground in the presence of Musa’s family and the Uber driver. The silence again lulled Musa into recalling the events of the past couple of days.

After his meeting with the EFCC that had ended in them informing him that they would prosecute him if their investigations proved that his information was completely false, he had returned to his hotel room in Abuja with deep grief. It was at that point he started regretting his decision to venture into this whistleblowing mission. The whole thing had turned around on him now and he needed to exonerate himself. It was clear now that he was not going to get any money out of the whistleblowing, but he needed to at least to clear his name and not end up in jail. What a terrible mess!

He had picked up his hard drive, slotted it into his laptop and scoured through its contents again. He clicked on the folder into which he had copied the fingerprints. How could they have gotten all those people? He was sure they did not exist since they all had the same fingerprints on the system and also had never withdrawn a dime from all the money the politician had been paying into the accounts. How was it possible for over a hundred different people, who happened to have the common trait of receiving heavy payments from the same politician, to all not withdraw a dime out of the money he had sent them; how was it possible that no one else was paying money into their accounts? How was it possible that all the accounts happened to be opened at the same time? How was it possible if they were not fake accounts? But how could he prove this to the EFCC? It was clear that the politician had just spirited some people from heavens know where to pretend they were the owners of the accounts.

Then a thought occurred to him. There was no way the fingerprints of the people that had been contacted could match the fake ones on the system. All the EFCC need do was invite all those people or at least 50% of them over to the office and see if their fingerprints would match what was on the system, that would be proof that they were not the owners of the fake accounts like was being claimed.

Immediately, he picked up his phone and put a call through to the EFCC office and explained to them the idea he had come up with that would prove he had supplied genuine information. He was asked to come over to the office again the next day.

But he never got there. That same night he got a threatening text message from an international number that said “Back off or tomorrow you shall sing your last.”

The story continues>>>Click Here for Part 3

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