Monday, May 17, 2021

Not all whistleblowers would get 5% of recovered stolen public fund -Sagay

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The Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), said on Friday that not all whistleblowers would get five per cent of the recovered sum.

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

The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, said the Federal Government has received 1,231 tips from whistleblowers since the policy was introduced in 2016.

She said 791 investigations were commenced, 534 had been concluded, with N7.8billion, $378million and 27,800 pounds recovered so far.

Sagay and Adeosun spoke in Abuja at an “Evaluation workshop on the whistleblower policy and the role of the inter-agency asset tracing team,” organised by PACAC.

Adeosun was represented by Head, Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA) and Whistleblower Unit of the Ministry of Finance, Dr. Mohammed Dikwa.

Sagay said Nigerians should be made aware that not every whistle blower would get five per cent of what is recovered.

“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,” he said.

The eminent professor of law described the whistleblower 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 whistleblowing,” Sagay said.

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 whistleblower 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 whistleblowing attract reward.

For instance, he said a situation where a planned fund diversion is stopped, there would be no financial reward for the person who gave the tip-off.

He, however, urged Nigerians to view whistleblowing 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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