Expose Corruption, Get 5% Recovered Loot, FG Promises Whisteblowers In New Policy
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) yesterday approved the whistle-blower programme designed to encourage anyone with information about the stealing of public funds to report it.
Under this novel programme, if there is a voluntary return of stolen or concealed public funds or assets on the account of the information provided by the whistleblower, he or she will get between 2.5 per cent and five per cent of the amount recovered.
Finance minister, Kemi Adeosun, disclosed this to State House correspondents after the FEC meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa, Abuja.
According to her, the type of information that can be reported include mismanagement or misappropriation of public funds and assets (e.g. properties and vehicles), financial malpractice or fraud.
She listed some of the financial malpractices as “collecting/soliciting bribes, corruption, diversion of revenues, fraudulent and unapproved payments, splitting of contracts and procurement fraud (kickbacks and over-invoicing etc).
The benefits of the programme, she said, include: increasing the exposure of financial or financial-related crimes; supporting the fight against financial crimes and corruption; improving the level of public confidence in public entities; enhancing transparency and accountability in the management of public funds; improving Nigeria’s open government ranking and ease of doing business indicators, and the recovery of public funds that can be deployed to finance Nigeria’s infrastructure deficit.
“If there is a voluntary return of stolen or concealed public funds or assets on the account of the information provided, the whistleblower may be entitled to anywhere between 2.5 per cent (minimum) and five per cent (maximum) of the total amount recovered.
“You must have provided the government with information it does not already have and could not otherwise obtain from any other publicly available source to the government,” Adeosun said.
On whether there would be sanctions for individuals or corporate bodies involved in the diversion of public funds, she answered in the affirmative, saying they would be referred to the anti-corruption agencies for possible prosecution and subsequently blacklisted from working with or doing business with the government.
Answering questions on agencies that have not received their salaries, the minister explained that all the agencies had an allocational IPPIS, which is the salary platform.
“For example, (if) an agency has a salary for the year of N12 billion, what we insist they should do is continue to pay until that N12 billion is exhausted. Now what happens with the number of agencies is (that) the number of staff I had was more than the budgetary allocation.
“Instead of taking N1 billion a month, it was taking N1.2 billion or N1.3 billion; so by the time it got to October, many agencies had exhausted their allocation – (which is) what we did in the virement we sent to the National Assembly.”
During the briefing, the minister of power, works and housing, Babatunde Fashola disclosed that the council had approved emergency repair works of Tamburawa Bridge between Kaduna and Kano, which had been eroded by the harmful effects of mining activities in the area.
He also added that the council approved the continuation of work on the Second Niger Bridge, which is the bridge that is meant to give relief to the existing Niger Bridge and improve connectivity between the West and the East of the country.
He said: “The project was conceived first as a PPP (public-private partnership) with government financing. Negotiations have not been concluded and it is important to continue to work there.
“It is important to continue and it is important to continue there and, essentially, it’s preparatory and tiling work, but can only be done during the low tide, especially at this time of the year before the water levels rise; so, council approved that as well.”
Source : Leadership