… The Finance Ministry’s Connection
Before the discovery of $ 43 million in an apartment in Ikoyi, Lagos, some cash had been discovered in Kaduna, traced to a one-time top shot in the oil sector; thanks to the activities of whistleblowers.
The act of whistleblowing itself has taken Nigeria’s war against corruption to another level. Before its introduction, not a few corrupt officials relied so much on the plea bargain clause that allows an offender return part of the loot
becoming a rather lucrative vocation; as findings have revealed that there is so much in it for the whistleblower and walk away with minimum punishment.
Meanwhile, whistleblowing is fast. According to the Whistleblowing Programme of the Federal Ministry of Finance, a whistleblower could officially get as much as 5% of recovered loot and it could be higher depending on how much is involved.
With the Whistleblowing Programme, the Ministry seeks to encourage anyone in possession of information about violation of government financial regulations / procurement procedures, mismanagement or misappropriation of public funds and assets as well as financial malpractice, fraud, or theft of public assets
The government is committed to the whistleblower in that (s)he is allowed to remain anonymous and where such a person chooses not to be, he/she is entitled to the strictest confidentiality, within the limitations of the law. This means that their identity will be disclosed only in circumstances required by the law.
The Ministry’s standing rule that has made it all the more lucrative is that acts of whistleblowing that lead to the voluntary return of stolen or diverted public funds or assets will be eligible to benefit from a Reward Scheme. The Reward Scheme will make available between 2.5 percent (minimum) and 5 percent (maximum) of the total amount recovered by Government as a direct result of the information provided by the Whistleblower, as follows:
- Any whistle-blower whose information leads to the recovery of up to 1 billion Naira will receive 5% of the amount.
- The reward for any amount between 1 and 5 billion Naira will be 5% for the first 1 billion Naira and 4% of the remaining 4 billion Naira.
- Any amount over 5 billion Naira will attract (in addition to what has been laid out in (A) and (B) above for the first 5 billion Naira) a 2.5% reward on the portion exceeding 5 billion Naira
For example, if a whistle-blower provides information leading to the recovery of 10 billion Naira, he or she will receive 5% of the first 1 billion Naira, 4% of the next 4 billion Naira and 2.5% of the remaining 5 billion Naira.
In other words, whoever blew the whistle on the amount totaling N 15 billion in the recent Osborne Road haul would have 5% of the first N 1 billion, which is N 50 million, 4% of the next 4 billion which amounts to N 160 million and 2.5% of the remaining N 10 billion which makes a whooping N 250 million and a total of about N 460 million.
The Ministry has however stated that “for a report to qualify for a Reward it must directly lead to actual recovery”.
With the level of corruption in Nigeria, whistleblowing might soon become one of the most lucrative professions in the country.
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