The Federal Government has admitted that the whistleblower policy, enacted six years ago, has not in any way solved the high rate of corruption within the required sphere.
Zainab Ahmed, Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, made this disclosure on Wednesday, during a chat with State house correspondents after the week’s Federal Executive Council meeting, chaired by vice president Yemi Osinbajo, at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja.
She noted that a new Whistle Blower draft bill has been approved by the Federal Government.
“We noticed that the whistleblower policy response has lost momentum. We embarked on engagement in the six geo-political zones, and one of the main outcomes we found is that people are concerned about their safety due to providing information. So, this bill is critical to ensure the effectiveness of the retention of the whistle policy,” the Minister explained.
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The Federal Ministry of Finance is a facilitator of the Whistleblower Protection Act, which was introduced by the Buhari-led government in December 2016 and offers legal protection for people who voluntarily reveal acts of fraud, bribery, looted government funds and assets, financial misconduct, and other forms of corruption.
Moreso, the policy offers a reward of 2.5 to 5% of the monies recovered by the Nigerian government to a whistleblower who informs the ministry’s portal of any financial mismanagement or tipoff about stolen funds.
Ahmed added, “The Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning presented several memos today. The first is the draft whistleblower bill for 2022. This memo has been reviewed by the Council and approved with a provision to ensure alignment with the Evidence Act.
“The purpose of operationalising and putting in place a whistleblower bill is to strengthen the fight against corruption and to enable protection for whistleblowers that provide information for use by the government.
“As you know, since 2016, the Council has approved the setting up of the Presidential Initiative of Continuous Audit. PICA has been working in partnership with EFCC, ICPC, DSS, and NFIU and the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation.”