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Following the commendable actions of whistleblowers in recent times to recover stolen monies, the federal government says it is revising its procedure for approval of recruitment.



Minister of finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun made this disclosure in Abuja on Tuesday at a seminar on “The whistleblower policy and its implication for public servants” organized by the Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR).

According to Adeosun, “we are revising our procedures for approval of recruitment, which will improve our budgeting and control.”

“The work is to analyse trends and take corrective actions. For example many of the salary, tax and pension under remittance cases shared a common thread. Several cases where Institutions were found to have insufficient funds to meet there obligations often had illegal recruitments which bloated the wage bill and agencies responded by part paying or short paying salaries, whilst applying to FG for salary shortfall payments.”

The Minister also noted that “in many cases where revenue has been diverted to accounts outside TSA, we have reviewed our reconciliation and receipting processes. So the information being provided is useful in driving process improvements.”

Adeosun stated that much of the success of the whistleblower policy has relied on the decision of the whistleblower to do the right thing.

She then revealed that “of the 365 actionable tips we have received, over half of them have come from public servants touching on issues such as contract inflation, ghost workers, illegal recruitments, misappropriation of funds, illegal sale of Government assets, diversion of revenues, and violation of TSA regulations, amongst others.”

In reviewing the information, the federal government she said has received and noticed “that certain type of tips are recurring, for example; 39% (144) of the actionable tips relate to misappropriation and diversion of funds/revenue, 16% (60) relate to ghost workers, illegal recruitments and embezzlement of funds meant for personnel emolument, 15% (56) relate to violation of TSA regulation, 13% (49) relate to contract inflation/violation of the procurement act and failure to carry out projects for which funds have been released and 9% (34) relate to non-remittance of pension & NHIS deductions. Others include concealed bail-out funds and embezzlement of funds from donor agencies.”

Overall, the volume of tips received Adeosun said “has been greater and of higher quality than expected when the programme was first adopted. We continue to receive information everyday with total communication reaching above 5,000 in July through our various reporting channels.”

Adeosun assured civil servant who “have information about a possible misconduct or violation that has occurred, is on-going, or is about to occur, we implore you to come forward and report it. You can submit your information anonymously and confidentially through the online portal, by email or by phone and if you choose to disclose your identity, I assure you that it will be fully protected. All information you provide will be reviewed, analysed and referred to be treated either administratively or criminally, through the investigative agencies.”

“If for any reason after a civil servant has made a disclosure you feel that you are being treated badly because of your report, you can file a formal complaint through the same confidential channels and the matter will be dealt with immediately with the seriousness it deserves. Also, where you have suffered harassment, intimidation or victimisation for sharing your concerns, the whistleblower policy makes provision for restitution of any loss suffered,” the minister said.

She further assured potential whistleblowers that “the risk of corruption is significantly heightened where the reporting of wrongdoing is not supported or where those who report wrongdoing may be subject to retaliation, such as intimidation, harassment, transfer, dismissal or violence by their fellow colleagues or superiors.”

“The protection of public sector whistleblowers from retaliation for reporting in good faith is therefore, integral to our effort to combat corruption, safeguard integrity, and enhance accountability.”

These she said “are not just words, as you must have heard, the Senate recently passed the Whistleblower Protection Bill which gives a whistleblower, protection under the laws of Nigeria. This is a great step in the right direction in our fight against corruption”.

Adeosun noted that “the reward scheme has also acted as an incentive for disclosures – a whistleblower is entitled to between 2.5% and 5% of the amount recovered if the information provided is original and directly leads to the recovery of stolen or concealed funds or assets. Even in the payment process we have built in protection to ensure that whistleblowers identity remains confidential and that bank and other details can not be used to trace information providers.”

However she cautioned that, “balance is necessary in every policy and you will note, that as keen as we are for officers to provide information, there are serious consequences for providing false or malicious information including the possibility of prosecution. We must ensure that people are not victims of personal grudges or private misunderstandings.”

Government she said recognises “that whistleblowing alone is not a solution to corruption, it is one of the tools that can improve governance in the public service. In line with ensuring that government continues to build the right capacity and follow best practice, the Whistleblower Unit consisting of representatives from the various investigative agencies, is expected to go on a study tour to Australia to understand how they have been able to successfully implement the policy.”

Government she added “will continue to evolve and improve on the programme based on our experiences and learnings from other jurisdictions.”



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