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Minister of Finance Kemi Adeosun is behind the new programme, which analysts hope will give Nigeria’s anti-corruption campaign a big boost / Photo: NAN

Nigeria to reward those who expose thieves of government funds with 5 per cent of the recovered loot

The Federal Government of Nigeria has approved the payment of 5 per cent of recovered looted fund to the whistle blower behind the recovery.

Minister of Finance Kemi Adeosun briefed State House correspondents at the end of the cabinet meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday, 21 December.

According to her, the programme is designed to encourage anyone with information about a violation, misconduct or improper activity that impacts negatively on the Nigerian people and government to report it.

She said: “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% (Minimum) and 5.0% (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,” She said.

Stressing that a whistle blower is any person who voluntarily discloses information in good faith about a possible misconduct or violation that has occurred, is on-going, or is about to occur.

Adeosun said such information can be submitted on a secure online portal by e-mail or by phone.

The minister listed examples of information that can be submitted on the portal to include Mismanagement or misappropriation of public funds and assets (e.g. properties and vehicles), Financial malpractice or fraud, Collecting / soliciting bribes, Corruption: Diversion of revenues, Fraudulent and unapproved payments, Splitting of contracts, and Procurement fraud (kickbacks and over-invoicing etc).

Stating that not all type of information could be submitted on the portal, she said: “The programme does not apply to personal matters concerning private contracts or agreements.

Noting that all members of the public can submit information to the Whistleblowing Portal, she said that the informant does not have to disclose his or her identity while providing information.

The whistle blower, she said, can additionally submit documentary evidence on the portal.

“You can also provide specific and fact based information such as what occurred, amount involved, who was involved and dates of occurrence on the portal.”

She said the identity of the informant would remain confidential to the fullest extent within the limitations of the law.

The minster said: “If you choose not to disclose your identity, there will be no record of who you are. If you choose to disclose your identity, it will be fully protected. If you are a whistle blower in public-spirit and in good faith, you will be protected.

“If you feel that you have been treated badly because of your report, you can file a formal complaint. If you have suffered harassment, intimidation or victimisation for sharing your concerns, restitution will be made for any loss suffered.” She added.

Adeosun said that any information received will be reviewed and analyzed to determine whether or not to open an investigation on the matter.

She said any of the information that is a criminal case will be referred to the relevant agencies; Police, Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) or Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC).

Apart from referral of individuals or corporate bodies involved in diversion of public funds to anti-corruption agencies for possible prosecution, she said that they will be blacklisted from working with or doing business with the Government.

On protection from False or Malicious Claims, she said: “A first level review will always be carried out to determine credibility and sufficiency of information received.

“If you report false or misleading information, it will be referred to the enforcement agents for investigation and possible prosecution.”

Adeosun said the informant can receive status updates on the progress with the information that have been provided.

“When you submit information, the portal will generate a unique reference number. To know the status of your submitted tip, simply click on “Get Feedback” and enter the reference number.” she stated.

 Sesan Adeola

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