The Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), Prof. Itse Sagay, has said the Whistleblowing policy of the Federal Government has led to the recovery of N594.09bn in less than three years since it was introduced.
He spoke on Wednesday in Abuja at a two-day roundtable organised by the African Centre for Media and Information Literacy (AFRICMIL), PACAC and the MacArthur Foundation with the theme: “Entrenching Whistleblowing in Regulatory and Revenue-Generating Agencies”.
He also said the policy recorded 791 cases of infractions from ‘actionable tips’ in the same period. He said the policy has been very successful not only in terms of assets recovered but also by revelation of magnitude of various scams used by fraudulent Nigerians in bleeding the country’s purse.
“As at November 2019, less than three years after the introduction of the policy, the Federal Government had recovered N594.09bn from the implementation of the policy,” Sagay said. According to him, the success of the policy had led to calls from Nigerians abroad that the Federal Government should export the initiative to known countries where looted funds are usually laundered.
“Some Nigerians living abroad, particularly in the USA, have suggested that the whistle blower’s policy should be operated abroad in order to expose Nigerians who loot our funds, and then launder them abroad by buying expensive properties in the name of their relatives living or studying abroad. “According to those pushing this proposal, some former governors transferred public funds abroad and used them to purchase expensive and luxurious properties in the names of their relations residing in the foreign country concerned.
“The idea is that our government should appropriately tip-off contact with the FBI in the USA to investigate such relations regarding their source of funds for the properties in their names.” Speaking earlier, the Coordinator, AFRICMIL, Dr. Chido Onumah, said the centre as part of its good governance initiative, in early 2017, launched the Corruption Anonymous (CORA) project with the support of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
He said the project is aimed at creating awareness about whistleblowing and making Nigerians see the need to adopt whistleblowing as a tool for reducing corruption and other forms of malfeasance in the country, build public confidence in the whistleblowing policy of the federal government and advocate for the protection of whistle-blowers.
“Despite its challenges, mainly bordering on lack of proper legal and institutional framework, the whistleblowing policy has achieved considerable success, manifested in the recovery of huge amounts of looted public funds in local and foreign currencies, as well as other mouth-watering state assets. “Although the whistleblowing mechanism exists in some government agencies, many others do not have such framework in place. Even for those who do, lack of coordination means limited efficacy and impact of the provisions.
In some cases, also, the policy is not more than the paper on which it is written, devoid of the needed impetus,” Onumah said. Also, the Deputy Director, MacArthur Foundation, Dr. Dayo Olaide, said Nigeria is not winning the anti-corruption war because the needed and expected actions do not come from the government.