By Harrison Arubu
Prof. Itse Sagay, Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), on Friday hinted at the creation of a special fund for financial reward for pre-emptive whistleblowing.
Sagay dropped the hint at an evaluation workshop on the Federal Government’s WhistleBlower Policy and the role of the Inter-Agency Asset Tracing Team in Abuja.
“I think a fund is going to be created to reward those who give information that prevents corruption and saves the country from being looted in any aspect,’’ he told newsmen.
NAN reports that only whistleblowers, whose tips led to recovery of stolen assets in line with certain conditions, are currently entitled to between one and five per cent of the recovered loots.
One of the conditions is that information so provided must be one that the government does not already have and could not otherwise obtain from any other publicly available source.
So far, the Federal Government has paid out over N370 million to whistleblowers since the introduction of the policy in December, 2016.
Sagay said the workshop was organised in response to observed “slight reduction in the frequency of whistleblowing’’ from Nigerians.
“What we intend to achieve with this dialogue is to assure potential whistleblowers not only that they will get their reward, but that they will get protection,’’ he said.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, said that the whistleblower policy had been well received by Nigerians since it was introduced.
She reiterated that tips from whistleblowers had led to the recovery of N7.8 billion, 378 million dollars and 27,800 pounds from looters since then.
Represented by Mr Mohammed Dikwa, Head of the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit unit in the ministry, Adeosun said the focus of the policy would soon shift to prevention of looting of public assets.
The minister said that required institutions would be put in place and the investigation framework of the whistleblower policy reviewed to make it more effective.
Some participants at the forum, including the Secretary of PACAC, Mr Bolaji Owasanoye, called for measures to sustain the policy in the absence of reward, and beyond the current administration.
“The question is without a policy to encourage and ginger you to report, if you see something wrong, will you keep quiet? Constitutionally, we all have a duty to report crime.
“Section 24 (b) says that we citizens have a duty to help to enhance the powers, prestige and the good name of the country and render assistance to appropriate and lawful agencies to maintain law and order.
“I am saying this because the survival and efficacy of the policy is for us to shift our mindset from the money to the value and our duties and responsibilities as citizens,’’ Owasanoye said.