From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The federal government has received through its reporting channels over 5,000 tips out of which only 365 are actionable since the whistleblower policy was launched in December 2016.
This is even as it said that in the first batch of payment, the sum of N375.8 million has been paid to 20 whistleblowers who provided information that led to the recovery over N11.6 billion. Second batch of payment is on the the way.
The Minister of Finance Kemi Adeosun, made the disclosure at this month’s Bureau for Public Service Reform Lunch Time Seminar on The Whistleblower Policy and its Implications for Public Servants.
Adeosun, who said Whistleblower Policy has been one of government most successful new initiatives, disclosed that of the 365 actionable tips received, over half of them came from public servants touching on issues such as contract inflation, ghost workers, illegal recruitments, misappropriation of funds, illegal sale of Government assets, diversion of revenues, and violation of TSA regulations, amongst others.
According to her, 39% (144) of the actionable tips relate to misappropriation and diversion of funds/revenue, 16% (60) relate to ghost workers, illegal recruitments and embezzlement of funds meant for personnel emolument, 15% (56) relate to violation of TSA regulation, 13% (49) relate to contract inflation/violation of the procurement act and failure to carry out projects for which funds have been released and 9% (34) relate to non-remittance of pension & NHIS deductions. Others include concealed bail-out funds and embezzlement of funds from donor agencies.
Adeosun, who commended the civil servants for being patriotic by volunteering information that was yielding result, however, there is a long way to go adding, “we must do more.”
“Part of our work is to analyse trends and take corrective actions. For example many of the salary, tax and pension under remittance cases shared a common thread. Several cases where Institutions were found to have insufficient funds to meet there obligations often had illegal recruitments which bloated the wage bill and agencies responded by part paying or short paying salaries, whilst applying to FG for salary shortfall payments. We are revising our procedures for approval of recruitment, which will improve our budgeting and control.
“Equally in many cases where revenue has been diverted to accounts outside TSA, we have reviewed our reconciliation and receipting processes. So the information being provided is useful in driving process improvement.
“If as a civil servant, you have information about a possible misconduct or violation that has occurred, is on-going, or is about to occur, we implore you to come forward and report it. You can submit your information anonymously and confidentially through the online portal, by email or by phone and if you choose to disclose your identity, I assure you that it will be fully protected. All information you provide will be reviewed, analysed and referred to be treated either administratively or criminally, through the investigative agencies.