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The Federal Executive Council on
Wednesday approved the Ministry of Finance Whistleblowing Programme that may
see individuals, who voluntarily volunteers credible information on stolen or
concealed funds, smiling home with between 2.5 per cent and five per cent of
the funds when recovered.

The Minister of Information and
Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun; and the
Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, briefed State
House correspondents at the end of the meeting presided over by President
Muhammadu Buhari.

Adeosun said the programme was
designed to encourage anyone with information about a violation, misconduct or
improper activity that impacted negatively on Nigerians and government, to
report such.

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
per cent (minimum) and 5.0 per cent (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.”

The minister said the programme
would serve as a stop-gap till a bill on the same matter, presently before the
National Assembly, was passed into law.

She explained that there would be a
secure online portal where the information could be submitted.

After submitting such information,
she said the whistleblower could also check the status of his report on the
portal.

Examples of information that could
be submitted, according to the minister, are mismanagement or misappropriation
of public funds and assets, including properties and vehicles; financial
malpractice or fraud; collecting/soliciting bribes; and corruption.

Others infraction, the minister
said, included diversion of revenues; fraudulent and unapproved payments;
splitting of contracts; and procurement fraud that included kickbacks and
over-invoicing among others.

Adeosun, however, warned that under
the programme, personal matters, concerning private contracts or agreements,
would not be allowed.

She explained that the information
could be submitted through the online portal by e-mail or by phone.

The finance minister added that the
information, which could be submitted on condition of anonymity, could be
submitted through documentary evidence and provision of specific and fact-based
information such as what occurred, amount involved, who was involved and dates
of occurrence on the portal.

Adeosun added, “Confidentiality
will be maintained to the fullest extent within the limitations of the law. 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 ‘whistleblow’ 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.”

Adeosun added that the information
provided would be reviewed and analysed to determine whether or not to open an
investigation into the matter.

 In matters that are criminal in nature, she
said such cases would be referred to relevant agencies such as the police, the
Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission or the
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

The minister explained that apart
from possible prosecution, those found guilty would be blacklisted from working
with or doing business with the government.

Adeosun, however, warned that false
information could attract prosecution.

 She said, “A first-level review will always be
carried out to determine credibility and sufficiency of information received.

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