The federal government has fulfilled its promised cash reward for whistleblowers on the new policy aimed at encouraging Nigerians to report corrupt persons to the authorities. It made good this pledge by paying N375,875,000 to 20 persons who volunteered information that led to the recovery of N11,635,000,000.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, while disclosing this, said the payment demonstrates the determination of the Buhari administration to encourage all Nigerians with information on misconduct, violation or improper activity which can impact negatively on Nigeria to report same to the authorities.
“This payment, which is the first under the Whistleblower Policy, underscores the commitment of the President Muhmmadu Buhari-led administration in meeting obligations to information providers under the Whistleblower Policy. The policy is an essential tool in the fight against corruption,” she said.
In a statement issued in Abuja on Wednesday by the ministry’s Director of Information, Mr Salisu Dambatta, the payment was said to be for only recovered assets that had been declared free of legal disputes or litigation by the Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF.
The director explained that in addition, taxes have been removed before final payments to beneficiaries.
“This payment, which is the first under the Whistleblower Policy, underscores the commitment of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration in meeting obligations to information providers under the Whistleblower Policy.
“The policy is an essential tool in the fight against corruption.
“The Ministry, therefore, encourages all Nigerians with information on misconduct, violation or improper activity which can impact negatively on Nigeria to report it to the appropriate authority,” he said.
Dambatta said the Whistleblower Policy was recently amended to include the introduction of a formal legal agreement between information providers and the Federal Government.
He said the agreement had already been executed by the Minister of Justice.
The director said the amendment was introduced to ensure the protection of the identity of information providers during the payment process.
He however declined to reveal the specific recoveries for which the monies were being paid saying that “it may endanger the whistleblowers”.
The Whistleblower Unit is a multi-agency team, resident in Federal Ministry of Finance Headquarters.
It has staff on secondment from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, and the Department of State Services, DSS.
Also, the Nigeria Police Force and Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit form part of the unit. The Unit is the first line of response to whistleblower information, where the initial review is undertaken before cases are forwarded to the relevant investigative agencies.
So far, the unit has received 2, 150 communications and 337 tips through its dedicated channels from many patriotic Nigerians, which led to the recovery of substantial assets that were illegally acquired by various individuals.
The primary purpose of the Policy is to support the fight against financial crimes and corruption, promote accountability and enhance transparency in the management of public finances.
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