The Federal Executive Council (FEC) yesterday approved a whistleblowing policy to expose fraud and other related crimes in both the public and the private sectors.
Also yesterday, FEC approved the outline business case for discussions on the concession agreement that will facilitate private capital for the conclusion of work on the Second Niger bridge.
Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun disclosed this to State House reporters after the FEC meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari.
In order to encourage Nigerians to key into the whistleblowers’ scheme, Adeosun 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 per cent (minimum) and 5.0 per cent (maximum) of the total amount recovered.”
She said the policy devised by her ministry was aimed at encouraging anyone with information about a violation, misconduct or improper activity that impacts negatively on Nigerians and government to report it.
According to her, the policy’s objective is to increase exposure of financial or financial related crimes; support the fight against financial crimes and corruption; improve the level of public confidence in public entities; enhance transparency and accountability in the management of public funds; improve Nigeria’s Open Government Ranking and Ease of Doing Business Indicators; and recover public funds that can be deployed to finance Nigeria’s infrastructure deficit.
She listed information that could be submitted 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 revenue; fraudulent and unapproved payments; splitting of contracts; procurement fraud (kickbacks and over-invoicing etc.).
The ministry defines a whistleblower as any person who voluntarily discloses information in good faith about a possible misconduct or violation that has occurred, is ongoing, or is about to occur.
The minister, who noted that there was a secure online portal where information could be submitted, said: “If you have already submitted your information, you can also check the status of your report on the portal.”
She however said that the policy would not apply to personal matters concerning private contracts or agreements.
She said whistleblowers could submit their information through the online portal by e-mail or by phone.
On whether a whistleblower is entitled to a financial reward, she responded: “It depends, 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 per cent (minimum) and 5.0 per cent (maximum) of the total amount recovered.
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