The whistle blowers act is a law that protects individuals who work for the government or organizations to report misconduct. They expose any kind of information or activity that is illegal or unethical. The whistle blowers can choose to operate within an organization or involve a third party. The third party offers protection to whistle blowers.
This act makes provisions to protect the persons making public interest disclosure related to an act of corruption, misuse of power, or criminal offense by a public servant.
It provides that any public servant or private individual or non-governmental organization can make such a disclosure to Central or State Vigilance Commission.
The complaint must include the identity of the complainant. The Vigilance Commission shall not disclose the identity of the complainant except to the head of the department if he deems it necessary.
The Act penalizes any person who has disclosed the identity of the complainant. The Act prescribes penalties for knowingly making false complaints.
This act covers federal government, and private bodies. There are no incentives except the government chooses to do otherwise.
Powers of CVC is limited to making recommendations. It cannot impose penalties. Whistle blowing is aimed at protecting the society from the wrong doings of people in political offices. At times whistle blowers face reprisal in the hands of people they have accused.
The Federal government introduced a whistle blowing policy in 2016, where the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun explained further that this medium will enable patriotic citizens to report criminal acts such as mismanagement or misappropriation of public funds and assets, like properties and vehicles; financial malpractice or fraud; collecting / soliciting bribes; corruption; diversion of revenues; unapproved payments; splitting of contracts; procurement fraud; kickbacks and over-invoicing. It also includes: violation of company’s policy, law regulation, or a threat to life, national security or public interest.
The whistle blower can report to the authorities through a secure online portal which would also conceal the identity of the blower. She also added that the programme was subject to ratification by the National Assembly. The policy was approved on Wednesday, 21 December, 2016 at the meeting of the Federal Executive Council, chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari inside the Council Chamber of the Aso Rock Villa. She said “If you whistleblow in public-spirit and in good faith, you will be protected. If you feel that you have been treated badly because of your report, you can file a formal complaint, if you report false or misleading information, it will be referred to the enforcement agents for investigation and possible prosecution.”
Recently, the Nigerian government recovered $151 million, N8 billion looted funds through whistleblowers and this raised so much dust in the country and became a matter of National concern. It was disclosed by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed in a statement issued on Sunday, 12th February, 2017. He said the looted funds do not include the $9.2 million cash recently recovered from a former Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Andrew Yakubu, also through the whistle-blower policy. This preceded This N7 billion and 15 million dollars from another person and also N1 billion from yet another.” “The largest amount so far is that of $136.7 million which was recovered from an account in a commercial bank, where the money was kept under a fake account name,” Mr. Mohammed said.
The minister urged Nigerians with useful information of public looted funds to come forward and report to the authorities. However, he did not disclose the amount to be paid to the whistle blowers.