FG explains why whistleblowing policy is losing strength, approves new legal framework

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The Federal Government says that its whistleblowing policy has lost its strength and cannot stand the test of time due to the lack of protective laws that guarantee the safety of whistleblowers.

This is while the government is laying a legal framework for a policy that will further improve the fight against corruption with the new whistleblower draft bill that was recently approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC).

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, disclosed this while briefing State House Correspondents after the FEC meeting of the week, chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Ahmed, who said the government has started engagement with 6 geo-political zones across the country, noted that the new bill will protect whistleblowers who provide helpful information to the Federal Government.

New legislation to ensure the effectiveness of the whistleblowing policy

  • The minister during the press briefing said, “The Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning presented several memos today. The first is the draft whistleblower bill for 2022. This memo was reviewed by the Council and approved with a provisions to ensure alignment with the Evidence Act.
  • “The purpose of operating and passing a whistleblower bill is to strengthen the fight against corruption and to protect whistleblowers who provide information for use by the government.
  • “As you know, since 2016, the Council approved the establishment of the Presidential Initiative of Continuous Audit. PICA is working with the EFCC, ICPC, DSS, and NFIU and the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation.
  • “We noticed that the policy response to the whistleblower has lost momentum. We started engagement in six geo-political zones, and one of the main results we found is that people are worried about their safety because of providing information. Therefore, this bill is important to ensure the effectiveness of the continuation of the whistle-blowing policy.”

The bill is expected to be forwarded to the National Assembly for consideration and approval.

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For the records

  • The whistleblower policy was introduced on December 21, 2016, as part of efforts aimed at improving the fight against Anti-Corruption by the Buhari administration. The policy that was initially very successful now needs reforms after a few years.
  • The Whistleblower Protection Act, sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Finance, provides legal cover for individuals who voluntarily disclose acts of fraud, bribery, theft of government funds and assets, financial misconduct and other forms of corruption.
  • The policy also rewards a whistleblower who provides information about any financial mismanagement or tipoff about stolen funds on the ministry’s portal with 2.5 – 5% of the funds recovered by the Nigerian government.

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