Whistleblowing is Patriotism, not Treachery- Finance Minister
Whistleblowing has been described as an act of patriotism, not an act of treachery, which is aimed at contributing to the building of a better nation for future Nigerians.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, who stated this at the opening of a seminar organized by the Bureau for Public Service Reforms (BPSR) in Abuja on Tuesday, noted that most information providers under the whistleblower policy were not motivated by financial gain, but by patriotic convictions.
She said that most of the successes of the Whistleblower policy so far has relied on the decision of the whistleblower to do the right thing, explaining that half of the 365 actionable tips received by the Whistleblowers Unit in the Ministry came from public servants, mostly touching on issues such as contract inflation, ghost workers, illegal recruitment into the Civil Service, misappropriation of funds and illegal sales of Government assets. Others are diversion of revenues and violation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) regulations.
The Minister assured that since the inception of the policy in December 2016, the Federal Government has “worked hard in ensuring that we have the right systems, processes and protection in place for public servants to raise their concerns about possible violations or misconduct. This is something we are keen on achieving.”
“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 disclose your identity, it will be fully protected,” the Minister emphasised.
She stated further: “The protection of public sector whistleblowers from retaliation for reporting in good faith is therefore, integral to our effort to combat corruption, safeguard integrity, and enhance accountability. These are not just words, as you must have heard, the Senate recently passed the Whistleblower Protection Bill which gives a whistleblower, protection under the laws of Nigeria. This is a great step in the right direction in our fight against corruption and I must thank the legislature for supporting the executive.”
Mrs. Adeosun disclosed that where whistleblowers suffered harassment, intimidation or victimization for sharing their concerns, the policy has made provisions for restitution of any loss suffered.
The Minister disclosed that the total communication received through the various reporting channels since the inception of the policy has reached more than 5, 000 by July 2017.
Earlier in his remarks, the Director-General of the Bureau for Public Service Reforms, Dr. Joe Abah said that the agency organized the seminar to provide the needed platform to educate public servants on what the policy is about, and the roles public servants were expected to play to ensure its successful implementation.
He noted the Whistleblower policy was in accord with the tenets of reforming the public service and urged public servants to expose corruption where it exists.
SALISU NA’INNA DAMBATTA