CEM REPORT, CORRUPTION | The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved a new draft bill that will enhance the fight against corruption and protect whistle-blowers.
According to the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, while briefing State House Correspondents after the week’s FEC meeting, chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at Presidential Villa, Abuja, the new legal framework would stand the test of time and recover the momentum lost.
Ahmed, who said that the government embarked on engagement in 6 geo-political zones across the country, noted that the new bill will protect whistle-blowers that provide helpful information to the Federal Government.
“The Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning presented several memos today. The first is the draft whistle-blower bill for 2022. This memo has been reviewed by the Council and approved with a provision to ensure alignment with the Evidence Act.”
She stated that;
“The purpose of operationalising and putting in place a whistle-blower bill is to strengthen the fight against corruption and to enable protection for whistle-blowers 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, NFIU, and the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation.
“We noticed that the whistle-blower 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 bill is expected to be forwarded to the National Assembly for consideration and approval.
Recall that the whistle-blower Policy was introduced on December 21, 2016, as part of efforts aimed at enhancing the Anti-Corruption fight of the Buhari administration. The policy which was initially hugely successful is now in need of reforms after a few years.
The Whistle-blower Protection Act, facilitated through the Federal Ministry of Finance, provides legal cover for individuals who voluntarily expose acts of fraud, bribery, looted 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 to the ministry’s portal with 2.5 – 5% of the funds recovered by the Nigerian government.