Saturday, 14 April 2018

5% Reward For Whistleblowers Is Not Automatic.. Buhari's Aide

The Chairman , Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof . Itse Sagay ( SAN ), on Friday explained the rationale for rewarding whistle - blowers whose tip - offs led to recovering of looted funds.

Sagay spoke in Abuja at an ‘ Evaluation workshop on the whistle- blower policy and the role of the inter- agency asset tracing team’ organised by PACAC.

Sagay said the five per cent of the recovery stipulated in the Whistle - blower Policy was the maximum reward, as some whistle - blowers can get less , depending on the amount of the loot recovered .

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.”

The professor of law described the whistle- blower policy as “very successful”, adding that it was not limited to looted funds .

“Things like breach of procurement practice, which is closely associated with corruption, and unapproved expenditure by agencies , are all subject of whistle -blowing, ” Sagay said.

Also speaking at the event , the Minister of Finance , Kemi Adeosun , said the Federal Government has received 1 , 231 tips from whistle - blowers since the policy was introduced in 2016.

Represented by the Head , Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit and Whistle- blower Unit of the Ministry of Finance, Dr. Mohammed Dikwa, Adeosun said 791 investigations were commenced , 534 had been concluded, with N7.8 bn, $ 378 m and £ 27, 800 recovered so far .

Adeosun said the Whistle - blower Team in her ministry went on a study tour of the United Kingdom and met with relevant agencies to learn best practices .

“Following lessons learnt from the study tour, we will begin to focus more on preventive measures, putting in place tight control measures , making it more difficult for a few people to take away assets that belong to an entire country .

“In addition to this , the investigation framework of the whistle- blower policy will be reviewed .

“We will continue to work with all stakeholders to improve the effectiveness of the policy and put in place required institutions and tools to achieve our objective, ” she said.

PACAC Executive Secretary, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye , said not all acts of whistle -blowing attracted rewards.

He said, as an example, a whistle- blower would not be rewarded for giving the tip -off leading to a stop of a planned diversion of funds .

He, however , urged Nigerians to view whistle- blowing as a civil duty and a constitutional responsibility .

“There is a duty to report, even without the five per cent reward, ” he said.

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