Whistle-blower policy yields N123bn

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The whistle-blower policy of the Federal Government has yielded about N123 billion, the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, disclosed yesterday.

Adeosun, who spoke at an evaluation workshop on the whistle-blower policy and asset tracing team organised by the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption in Abuja yesterday, said the Federal Government had received 8,373 enquiries and 1,231 tips since the policy was introduced in 2016.

Represented by the Head, Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA) and Whistle-blower Unit of the Ministry of Finance, Dr Mohammed Dikwa, Adeosun said 791 investigations were commenced while 534 had been concluded, with N7.8billion, $378million (about N115.3 billion) and 27,800 pounds (about N12 million) recovered so far.

The finance minister also said the Federal Government was planning to review the whistle-blower policy to make it more effective,  She said although the government believes that the policy has been a success, more work needed to be done.

To this end, she said the government would focus more on tight control measures that would make it difficult for a few people to take away assets that belong to the entire country.

“The whistle-blower policy is aimed at improving institutional governance, strengthening mechanisms for the fight against corruption and supporting the implementation of open government partnership principles in advancing anti-corruption reforms,” she said.

Reviewing the whistle-blower framework, Adeosun said the government “will continue to work with all stakeholders to improve the effectiveness of the policy while required institutions and tools to achieve the objectives would be put in place.”

She disclosed that an inter-agency asset tracing team had been constituted. “The team is made up of representatives from the Office of the Attorney-General and all investigative agencies,” she said.

The objectives of the team, the minister said, “is to centralise the tracking, management and maintenance of all recovered non-cash assets in the custody of the Federal Government, monitor the disposal of assets under final forfeiture to the Federal Government by the court.”

This, she said, “would stem general loss of value, including the depreciation of motor vehicles and loss of rental income from high value properties recovered.”

Also speaking at the occasion, the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), Prof. Itse Sagay, SAN said that not all whistle-blowers will get five per cent of recovered sum.

According to him, the reward could be as low as one per cent of what is recovered, depending on the amount.

He said: “One controversial issue in the policy is the question of remuneration.

“The public seems to be fixated on five per cent. But in fact, five per cent is the maximum.

“It can be as little as one per cent, depending on the amount of money involved.

“It could be slightly more if it is an extremely large amount.”

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