The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has clearly spelt out the irresistible benefits that await whistleblowers and also pledges protection for them.
According to the minister, any whistleblower whose information leads to the recovery of up to 1 billion Naira will receive 5 per cent of the amount.
He also reveals that the reward for any amount between 1 and 5 billion Naira will be 5 per cent for the first 1 billion Naira and 4 per cent of the remaining N4billioN and that any amount over 5 billion Naira will attract 2.5% reward.
”For example, if a whistleblower provides information leading to the recovery of 10 billion Naira, he or she will receive five per cent of the first one billion Naira, four per cent of the next four billion Naira and 2.5 percent of the remaining five billion Naira.
What this means invariably is that a whistleblower that leads Nigeria to the recovery of cash or assets worth N5billion, will earn N210million.
”What we have done by making this information public is to reassure potential whistleblowers that the plan to reward is real. We are not just saying we will pay all whistle-blowers, but we are letting them know in advance what they are entitled to, once the information they provide leads to the recovery of looted funds,” he added.
Mr. Lai Mohammed also gave the assurance that the government will protect the identity of all whistleblowers, whether in the public or the private sect and also ensure that the information they provide is kept secret.
”Whistleblowers have nothing to fear, because the committee has put in place the necessary measures to safeguard those who give useful information. As a matter of fact, whistle-blowers have everything to gain and nothing to lose.
”For those who may have suffered any backlash as a result of the information they provide, their cases will be reviewed and appropriate mitigating actions taken”.
Alhaji Mohammed said the assurance of protection followed the presentations made to the Presidential Assets Recovery Committee by concerned citizens and groups about the safety of whistle-blowers.
A civil servant working for the Foreign Affairs Ministry was said to be have been sacked after exposing some theft in an agency of the ministry. His case is being reviewed by the Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, following the directive of Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo.
ThisDay reported that bankers, mainly account officers, have started to take advantage of the federal government’s whistleblowing policy to report the wrongdoings of former and current public office holders suspected to have embezzled public funds and stashed them in several Nigerian banks.
A reliable source with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), who disclosed this to the media agency at the weekend, said several former and current public officers who had allegedly stolen from the treasury either hid the physical cash in safe houses or used shell companies, close aides, associates and family members to stash the ill-gotten funds in bank accounts using the names of the companies or their friends, family members and associates.
And since the federal government unveiled the whistleblowing policy as a means of recovering stolen public sector funds, a number of junior and middle-level bankers have been quietly ratting on the true beneficiaries of the accounts in order to cash in on the rewards derivable from the policy.