By MARK ITSIBOR,
The federal government yesterday announced that it has paid N375.8 million to 20 providers of information under its Whistleblower Policy.
According to the federal ministry of finance, the payment of various amounts totaling N375,875,000 was made to the beneficiaries whose information led to the recovery of N11,635,000,000.
The policy was introduced by the federal government to support the government’s anti-financial crimes and corruption, with a purpose of exposing financial crimes and rewarding whistle-blowers.
Director of information in the ministry of finance, Salisu Dambatta quoted the Minister for Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun as saying that: “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,” stating, “The policy is an essential tool in the fight against corruption.”
Adeosun further said new procedures have also been introduced to the implementation of the policy to ensure the protection of the identity of information providers during the payment process.
The Minister explained that all payments are taxable and are only made upon confirmation of the final recovery of assets as confirmed by the Attorney-General of the Federation as being free of legal disputes or litigation.
The Minister also gave details of the Whistleblower Unit (WBU), a multi-agency team, which is resident in Ministry of Finance Headquarters. It is staffed by seconders from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Department of State Services (DSS), the Nigeria Police Force and Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA), among others.
“The Whistleblower Unit is the first line of response to whistleblower information, where initial review is undertaken before cases are forwarded to the relevant investigative agencies,” Mrs. Adeosun said.
The Ministry of Finance had claimed that following the approval of the Whistleblowers Policy by the Federal Executive Council and its launch by the Minister of Finance in December 2016, the WBU 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.