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Thursday, 22 March 2018

FG Reveals Amount Of Looted Funds Recovered Through Whistle Blowing Policy

FG Reveals Amount Of Looted Funds Recovered Through Whistle Blowing Policy

Kemi Adeosun

The President Muhammadu Buhari administration claims to have recovered billions of naira from the whistleblower policy which has been exposing looters.

The Federal Government yesterday revealed that approximately N9.12 billion has been recovered from its whistle blowing policy since it came into effect, stressing that institutionalising whistle blowing infrastructure will help put people on their toes.

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The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun said this while briefing State House Correspondents after Wednesday’s Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, in Abuja.

She gave a breakdown of the recoveries as N7.8 billion, $368 million, and £27,800, and that she also informed the council of the number of tips and number of investigations carried out.

The policy allows whistle-blowers, who report fraud or theft of public funds, to be given not more than five percent of the sum recovered from looters through their help.

The federal government said it is trying to amend the policy to accommodate instruments that will deal more with prevention, including using mystery shoppers to garner information as it is done in the United Kingdom.

Adeosun said, “I also reported that the whistleblower team has recently come back from a trip to the United Kingdom. The UK government was giving us trainings on whistleblowing, how we should institutionalise it.

The team spent some time with the Revenue Office in UK. They spent some time in Customs Office and they took them through what they have been able to do.

“One of the things it has achieved is prevention. When they get the tips, they use it to block avenues for leakage. We have had a significant number tips. So, we will be coming back to institutionalise whistleblowing as a structure.

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“It has become central part of fighting corruption, giving us valuable information. Basically, whistle blowing is here to stay, giving us useful information,” she explained.

Recall that human rights activist and constitutional lawyer, Mr Femi Falana, SAN, had last year spoken on the need for the federal government to adopt new strategies regarding its whistle-blowing policy, in such a manner that it would not be limited to exposing places where questionable monies belonging to the public were hidden.

He called for the policy to be extended to exposing documents capable of leading to tracking of non-liquid cash kept in various financial institutions in Nigeria and abroad.

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