—Enact 5 years Imprisonment For False Disclosure
BY SOLOMON AYADO and AHURAKA ISAH, Abuja
The Senate has passed into law the Bill for an Act to protect persons making disclosures for the public interest and others from reprisal.
Yesterday at plenary, the report on the Bill was presented for passage by the chairman of Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and legal matters, Senator David Umaru (Niger East).
It is tagged “An Act to Protect Persons Making Disclosures for the Public Interest and Others from Reprisals, to Provide for the Matters Disclosed to be Properly Investigated and Dealt with and for other Purposes Related Therewith.”
With the passage of this Bill, the Senate has concluded work on three anti-corruption Bills. In May 2017, it passed the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Bill, while in June 2017, it passed the Witness Protection Bill respectively.
Otherwise known as ‘whistleblowers protection Bill’ it seeks to encourage and facilitate disclosures of improper conduct by persons, public officers and corporate bodies, both private and public.
Under the newly passed Bill, a person who makes a disclosure shall not be subject to victimization by his or her employers or by fellow employees or isolation and humiliation.
Also, a person who makes a disclosure has the right to take legal action if he or she is victimized, dismissed, suspended, declared redundant, transferred against his or her will, harassed or intimidated in any manner.
However, the law asserts stringent punishment to guide against and deter false disclosure and postulated not less than five years imprisonment or a fine of N10 million for false whistle blowers.
On compensation to potential whistle blowers, the law further specifies that five percent of funds recovered should be set aside as incentives and policy of reward.
Speaking on the passage of the Bill, the Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki said “This is a promise kept. Today, we have passed a landmark piece of legislation to fight corruption and protect patriotic Nigerians who are fighting corruption.This Bill will protect the lives of those who risk themselves to expose corrupt practices in Nigeria.”