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Misappropriation, diversion of funds/revenue lead in whistle blowing tips—Minister

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The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun in Abuja on Tuesday, revealed that “In reviewing the information we receive, we have noticed that certain type of tips are recurring, for example; 39% (144) of the actionable tips relate to misappropriation and diversion of funds/revenue”.

Giving details on the performance of the Unit, now domiciled in her ministry at the Bureau of Public Service Reforms Seminar titled ‘the Whistle blower policy and its implication for Public Servants’, Adeosun said the government received over 5,000 tips as at July through various reporting channels set up.

According to her, more than half of the 365 actionable tips received from the public servants bordered on issues including contract inflation, ghost workers, illegal recruitments, misappropriation of funds, illegal sale of Government assets, diversion of revenues, and violation of TSA regulations, amongst others.

Continuing, she revealed that after the highest 144 tips on misappropriation and diversion of funds/revenue, “16% (60) relate to ghost workers, illegal recruitments and embezzlement of funds meant for personnel emolument, 15% (56) relate to violation of TSA regulation, 13% (49) relate to contract inflation/violation of the procurement act and failure to carry out projects for which funds have been released and 9% (34) relate to non-remittance of pension & NHIS deductions. Others include concealed bail-out funds and embezzlement of funds from donor agencies”.

“Currently, government is analyzing trends and taking corrective actions, as she noted that for example many of the salary, tax and pension under remittance cases shared a common thread.

“Several cases where Institutions were found to have insufficient funds to meet there obligations often had illegal recruitments which bloated the wage bill and agencies responded by part paying or short paying salaries, whilst applying to FG for salary shortfall payments. We are revising our procedures for approval of recruitment, which will improve our budgeting and control.

On the protection of the whistle blowers, the minister recalled that their safety is fully guaranteed as the Senate has recently passed the Whistle Blowers protection Bill which gives a whistle blower protection under the laws of Nigeria adding also that all whistleblowers can report their information without revealing their identity.

In her submission, “The protection of public sector whistleblowers from retaliation for reporting in good faith is therefore integral in our effort to combat corruption and enhance accountability, these are not just words as the Senate recently passed the Whistleblower Protection Bill which gives a whistleblower protection under the laws of Nigeria”.