The Federal Ministry of Finance has confirmed release of N375.8million to the first batch of 20 providers of information under the Whistleblower Policy.
The payment, of various amounts totaling N375,875,000, relate to the recovery of N11,635,000,000 .
Minister for Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun made the disclosure on Tuesday.
She said: “This payment, which is the first under the Whistleblower Policy, underscores the commitment of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration in meeting obligations to information providers under the Whistleblower Policy. The policy is an essential tool in the fight against corruption.”
She further disclosed recent amendments to the Whistleblower Policy which includes the introduction of a formal legal agreement between information providers and the Federal Government, which is executed by the Minister of Justice (Attorney-General of the Federation).
Adesoun added that procedures have also been introduced to ensure the protection of the identity of information providers during the payment process.
The Minister explained that all payments are taxable and are only made upon confirmation of the final recovery of assets as confirmed by the Attorney-General of the Federation as being free of legal disputes or litigation.
Adeosun also gave details of the Whistleblower Unit (WBU), a multi-agency team, which is resident in the Ministry of Finance Headquarters.
The unit It is staffed by secondees from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Department of State Services (DSS), the Nigeria Police Force and Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA), among others.
“The Whistleblower Unit is the first line of response to whistleblower information, where initial review is undertaken before cases are forwarded to the relevant investigative agencies,” she said.
The Ministry had reported that following the approval of the Whistleblowers Policy by the Federal Executive Council and its launch in December 2016, the WBU received 2,500 tips through its dedicated channels from many patriotic Nigerians, which led to the recovery of substantial assets that were illegally acquired by various individuals.