By G9ija

The Federal Government has recovered over ?700 billion from its Whistle-Blower Policy, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, has said.

The minister stated this yesterday when she addressed reporters at the National Conference on the Whistle-Blower Policy in Abuja.

She said the government recovered the huge amount of money with the help of whistle-blowers who gave useful information for actionable claims of corruption.

“There were recoveries and the cleaning of the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS); stoppage of non-compliance with the Treasury Single Account (TSA) and violations of the procurement Act 2007, among others,” Mrs. Ahmed said.

The minister recalled that “at inception, there was widespread enthusiasm as Nigerians volunteered a lot of actionable information”.

Such information or tips, she said, were referred to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) or the Department of State Services (DSS) for further action.

“However, after sometime, interest in the implementation of the policy nosedived. Our attempt to reawaken public interest on the policy did not quite materialise. It was then we realised that there was apparent confusion in the public mind on several issues,” she said.

To address the situation, a committee with representatives from anti-graft and security agencies, chaired by a representative of the Federal Ministry of Justice, was set up to draft a Whistle-Blower Bill, taking into account all the complaints received from the public and the observations of the various stakeholders.

Also, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo said the whistle-blower policy “was developed as a tool towards the exposure of corruption and corrupt actors in government”.

The policy, he said, “presents a unique opportunity for men and women of conscience who are appalled by the level of corruption in the society and are looking for safe avenues to expose the perpetrators of such corrupt activities to do so in a way that their identities are protected and their positions in their places of work are secured”.

Osinbajo urged the developers of the new Whistle-Blower Bill to expand “the scope of wrongful acts that may be reported by whistle-blowers”.

The Vice-President stated this in a keynote address he delivered virtually at the National Conference on Whistle-Blower Policy.

A statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President, Mr. Laolu Akande, said Osinbajo noted that the expanded scope of the policy should include public safety, security, gross mismanagement of the rights of people, and waste of resources, among others.