Government okays 5% reward to whistle blowers in anti-graft fight
The Federal Government yesterday announced a policy, which offers a five percent financial reward to any whistle blower whose information leads to recovery of looted funds and other monies obtained through fraudulent means.
Tagged ‘Whistle Blowing Programme,’ it is aimed at encouraging anyone with information about a violation, misconduct or improper activity that impacts negatively on the Nigerian people and government to report it.
Official reward for whistle blowers will strengthen the fight against corruption by encouraging more Nigerians to identify with government’s efforts in that regard.
The country would have recovered substantial part of the looted funds if similar policy were adopted in effort to recover the Abacha loot running into billions of dollars.
Briefing State House correspondents after a meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday, Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun said if a whistle blowing leads to a voluntary return of stolen or concealed public funds or assets, the blower may be entitled to between 2.5 per cent (minimum) and 5.0 per cent (maximum) of the total amount recovered.
Adeosun who was joined at the briefing by the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola and the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, explained that to qualify for the reward, the whistle blower must have provided the government with information it does not already have and could not otherwise obtain from any other source available to the government.
She further explained that the government had already created a secure online portal where information could be submitted, as well as the facility to check the status of the report on the portal.
Adeosun categorised the information that could be reported to include cases bothering on mismanagement or misappropriation of public funds and assets such as properties and vehicles, financial malpractice or fraud, and collecting or soliciting bribe.
Others are corruption, diversion of revenues, fraudulent and unapproved payments, splitting of contracts, and procurement fraud including kickbacks and over invoicing, among others.
The policy, however, does not apply to personal matters concerning private contracts or agreements.
While assuring of absolute confidentiality on the use of the portal, Mrs. Adeosun said that government employees, agencies, institutional stakeholders and members of the public were also at liberty to avail themselves of the facility.
“You can submit documentary evidence on the portal. You can also provide specific and fact-based information such as what occurred, amount involved, who was involved and dates of the occurrence on the portal.
“Confidentiality will be maintained to the fullest extent within the limitations of the law. If you choose not to disclose your identity, there will be no record of who you are. If you choose to disclose your identity, it will be fully protected.
”If you whistleblow in public-spirit and in good faith, you will be protected. If you feel that you have been treated badly because of your report, you can file a formal complaint. If you have suffered harassment, intimidation or victimisation for sharing your concerns, restitution will be made for any loss suffered.”