………law carries weight more than policy statement
The Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice,AbubakarMalami, SAN has revealed that the proceed of Crime and Whistle Blowing Bills which amongst others sought the protection of whistle blowers has been, and is still pending at the National Assembly.
Malami made this revelation in Abujaduring a discussion on Whistle Blowing Policy of the Federal Government;on Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) program:Good morning Nigeria, on Tuesday 28th February, 2017.
Malami urgedthe National Assembly to expedite action towards the passage of the Bills as that will engender increased citizen participation in the graft war and whistle blowing activities saying that,“the Law carries more weight than policy statement.”
Responding to question towhom whistle blowers should report, the AGF explained, “whistle blowing account with criminal undertone could be reported to the office of the Honorable Attorney General but could be also routed to other anti-graft agencies”. “Ministry of Justice collaborates with other anti-graft agencies to ensure that justice is done to the report and the reporter”.
AbubakarMalamidisclosed that Federal Ministries of Justice and Financeare working on single deed document to eliminate the bottlenecks associated with reporting criminalities and administrative ills. “Single Deed document is being developed to save whistle blowers of the tripartite process of reporting criminalities and administrative ills”.
Dissatisfiedwith the long stay of proceed of Crime and Whistle blowing bills at NASS which if had been passed would have provided legal backing to whistle blowers, Malami said, “ so far , the only safe guard for whistle blowers rest on the political will”.
He howeverexpressed satisfaction with the renewed interest of the anti-graft agencies in protecting whistle blowers. “The agencies involved in prosecuting the anti-graft war are keying into the understanding of protecting whistle blowers.”
After the whistle what next? The Minister emphasized,“joint process of recovery and prosecution”.
The Minister, feeling fulfilled as Nigerians are beginning to appreciate the public interest on the process, noted that it has come to the situation where close relations have come up to blow the whistle against their allies.This scenario, according to Malami has “led to recovery of serious security equipment. The policy is being accommodated wholeheartedly by Nigerians”.
Speaking on the position of recovered looted funds, the Chief Law Officer of the Federation explained that recovered funds are paid into federal government account domiciled in the office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF) under these sub heads: Consolidated Revenue Accounts, recovered loots account and Treasury Single Accounts. He stressed that Federal Ministry of Justice recovers and remit to OAGF for keeps and utilization where and when necessary.
Prof. BolajiOwasanoye, Secretary, Presidential Advisory Committee on Anti-Corruption who was on the program explained that whistle blowing is not only about individuals or organizations that corruptly enrich themselves, it involves administrative ills etc. He further, explained that the reward window for whistle blowers ranges from 2.5% or less but not exceeding 5% of the recovered sum. He was quick to add that some whistle blowers do that on the grounds of patriotism thereby rejecting the monetary rewards attached to their efforts.
Bolaji was of the view that the Proceeds of Crime and Whistle Blowing Bill pending at the National Assembly should be passed without being subjected to another round of legislative process because of its importance and the negative consequences on those that willingly offer intelligence reports.
Also on the program was Honourable Ado Doguwa, Chief Whip House of Representatives, maintained that no matter the urgency of the purpose the proceedof crime Bill and whistle blowing bill may tend to achieve, legislative procedure and processes must be followed. “No matter the urgency attached to the Proceed of Crime Bill and Whistle Blowing Bill, it must pass through the legislative process of 1st, 2nd and3rd readings”, he emphasized.
He stressed, “NASS as an institution is committed to Proceed of Crime and Whistle Blowers Bill,I urge Nigerians to wait for a legal framework to support it, which will recommend the placement of the funds recovered to the benefit of Nigerians and security of whistle Blowers.”
Aguocha O Natty
For: AD (Information)
For: AD (Information)