By AZA MSUE, Kaduna
Senator representing Kaduna Zone One senatorial District at the National Assembly, Sen. Suleiman Abdu Kwari, has said the Whistleblower Policy is key to anti-graft war of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Kwari, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Anti corruption and Financial Crimes made the remarks while addressing the National Conference on Whistleblower Policy (NCWBP), in Abuja, on Tuesday.
Recognizing the enormity of effort by organizers of the conference, Senator Kwari specifically acknowledged the work of the Economic and Research and Policy Management Department of the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning.
He congratulated President Buhari and all Nigerians on the attainment of the nation’s 60th Independence Anniversary saying the theme for this year’s celebration underscores the contributory role of parliamentarians globally in the fight against corruption.
The Senator recalled the positive impact of the speedy passage of various legislations on the anti-graft war such as the Mutual Legal Assistance Act, the NFIU Act, and the Annual Appropriations Act.
Other crucial legislations, he said, include the Deep Offshore & Inland Basin PSC (Amendment) Act, 2019 and the Companies And Allied Matters Act 2020 which adequately addressed the issues of beneficial owners, who had hitherto concealed their identities, carried on illicit transactions while successfully dodging liability.
Kwari said: “Because of the inherent constitutional powers of oversight and consultations with other stakeholders, the National Assembly has become conversant with the matrix of corruption and is then able to put together a robust set of legal framework to criminalize all manifestations of graft in and out of government.
“To support this fight against graft, the National Assembly has put together, a Legislative Anti-Corruption Strategy (LACS), which seeks to do three things namely, provide robust legislations, conduct vigilant oversight and carry out enquiries and investigations to expose corruption wherever it’s found.
Kwari added:”The implementation of the above strategy will see to it that the legal framework being put together will ensure the anti-corruption agencies and law enforcement agencies are Independent, Well-Funded and Open to Oversight and Public Scrutiny.
“Ongoing also, are legislative activities that will streamline the processes of the criminal justice system, the capacity of the prosecutors to get a fast-tracked process for prosecution of offenders, successful convictions and seizure of their assets as well as the efficient and transparent management and disposal of those forfeited assets,” Senator Kwari said.
The senator explained that the aim of the NCWBP was to discuss the critical issue of Public Interest Disclosures or the whistle blowing policy:”The National Assembly has already been collaborating with the Office of the Attorney General and Minister for Justice and other stakeholders, in putting together a legal framework that will strongly encourage individuals and employees to disclose wrongdoings in public interest as well as providing for their safety.
“These collaborations are open and ongoing and will gain further traction with more consultations with relevant Ministry Finance officials who have been implementing this laudable policy.
“We are however mindful of the White Paper on the Report of the Presidential Committee on Restructuring and Rationalization of Federal Government Parastatals, Commissions and Agencies. Our focus is therefore on the concept of Mandate Expansion of existing entities, rather than the creation of new institutions.
“In that light, we have considered a mandate expansion of the Public Complaints Commission Act 1995, which is already treating public interest complaints. The proposed Bill, however, will require amending Section 315(5) of the 1999 Constitution as Amended,” Kwari said.