The whistle-blower programme is an initiative of the Federal Government of Nigeria designed to encourage anyone with information about a violation of financial regulations, mismanagement of public funds and assets, financial malpractice, fraud and theft in Government Ministries, departments and agencies to report it.
Examples of cases that can be reported includes:
o Violation of Government’s financial regulations e.g. failure to comply with the Financial Regulations Act, Public Procurement Act and other extant laws.
o Mismanagement or misappropriation of public funds and assets (e.g. properties and vehicles).
o Information on stolen public funds.
o Information on concealed public funds.
o Financial malpractice or fraud.
o Collecting / soliciting bribes.
o Diversion of revenues.
o Underreporting of revenues.
o Conversion of funds for personal use.
o Fraudulent and unapproved payments.
o Splitting of contracts.
o Procurement fraud (kickbacks and over-invoicing etc.)
o Violation of public procurement procedures.
Channels of Communication for Potential Whistleblowers
The Programme works by means of a secure online portal by which people can submit tips and reports: whistle.finance.gov.ng
There is also a telephone number through which tips/reports can be submitted: 0909 806 7946
For questions and queries about the Policy, call the above number or send an email to [email protected]
Requirements for Eligible Information for the Whistleblowing Programme
Information submitted must be as plentiful and as specific as possible: containing dates of occurrence, persons involved in the matter, etc. However, it is also possible that these may not always be available, and in these cases it is sufficient that the Whistleblower is making a report based largely on the reasonable belief that the information s/he is providing is true.
What’s our Commitment to Whistleblowers
A Whistleblower can be any person or group of persons or institution within or outside the Government, that reasonably believes that a violation of accountability has occurred relating to government resources — funds or physical assets. Reports must relate to the violations outlined above, be made in good faith, not out of malice or to settle personal grievances, and not for the purposes of personal gain.
Whistleblowers are entitled to anonymity while providing information. If a Whistleblower chooses to not be anonymous, he/she is entitled to the strictest confidentiality, within the limitations of the law. This means that their identity will be disclosed only in circumstances required by the law.
The Policy will protect all Whistleblowers, regardless of whether or not the matter raised is upheld against the target. The Policy also makes provisions for redress by Whistleblowers who feel that they are suffering adverse treatment of any sort as a result of their whistleblowing activity.
Whistleblowers will be able to independently monitor the status or progress of tips/reports submitted.
What Happens When a Whistleblowing Report Is Submitted
The Whistleblowing Programme is managed by an Investigations Unit under the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA), within the Federal Ministry of Finance.
When a report is submitted, the administrators of the Whistleblowing Programme will analyse it and make a decision as to whether the information is sufficient or credible enough to warrant the opening of an investigation into it under the terms of the Whistleblowing Programme. This preliminary analysis will be conducted within ten (10) working days of the receipt of information.
Investigations may be carried out internally (by the PICA Investigations Unit), externally (by another government body), or may require the constitution of an independent inquiry. Investigations will be conducted confidentially and speedily, and feedback will be provided to the Whistleblower. Official written records will be kept of all investigations.
What’s In It for a Genuine Whistleblower
All acts of whistleblowing that lead to the voluntary return of stolen or diverted public funds or assets will be eligible to benefit from a Reward Scheme. The Reward Scheme will make available between 2.5 percent (minimum) and 5 percent (maximum) of the total amount recovered by Government as a direct result of the information provided by the Whistleblower. For a report to qualify for a Reward it must directly lead to actual recovery.
What’s In It for People Who Seek to Abuse the Whistleblowing Programme
Information that is publicly available, or speculative, misleading or untrue, or obtained in a manner that constitutes a criminal offence, will not be eligible for the Reward Scheme.
A Whistleblower who intentionally provides information that is false or misleading will be subject to investigation and possible prosecution by law enforcement agencies.