The Federal Ministry of Finance on Wednesday confirmed the release of N375.8m to the first batch of 20 providers of information under the whistle-blower policy.
The payment of various amounts totalling N375.8m, according to the ministry, relates to the recovery of N11.63bn.
The Minister for Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, was quoted in the statement as saying that the payment was a demonstration of the commitment of the Federal Government to the whistle-blower policy.
“This payment, which is the first under the whistle-blower policy, underscores the commitment of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration in meeting obligations to information providers under the whistle-blower policy. The policy is an essential tool in the fight against corruption,” the minister said.
She also disclosed that the policy had been amended to include a formal legal agreement between information providers and the Federal Government.
She said procedures had been introduced to protect the identity of information providers during the payment process.
According to the minister, all payments are taxable and are only made upon confirmation of the final recovery of assets by the Attorney General of the Federation that they are free of legal disputes or litigation.
The minister also said a whistle-blower unit in the Ministry of Finance headquarters had been created with members of staff seconded from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, the Department of State Services, the Nigeria Police Force and the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit, among others.
“The whistle-blower unit is the first line of response to whistle-blower information, where initial review is undertaken before cases are forwarded to the relevant investigative agencies,” Adeosun said.
The ministry had said it received 2,150 communications and 337 tips through its dedicated whistle-blower channels from many patriotic Nigerians, which led to the recovery of substantial assets that were illegally acquired by various individuals.
Adeosun assured Nigerians that the administration of President Buhari would continue to encourage citizens with information on misconduct, violation or improper activity which could impact negatively on Nigeria to report it to the appropriate authority.
Meanwhile, a member of the Osun House of Assembly, Mr. Olatunbosun Oyintiloye, has commended the Federal Government for its sincerity on the implementation of the whistle-blower policy through instant reward.
Oyintiloye in an interview with journalists on Wednesday in Osogbo said the N375.8m reward paid by the Federal Government to 20 whistle-blowers would inspire informants.
He said the payment was a clear signal that the Buhari’s administration was committed to the fight against corrupt practices.
“I really want to commend the President for keeping to his words under the whistle-blower reward policy.
“This shows that Mr. President is sincere in the fight against corruption in the country,” he said.