- To tilt more towards preventive rather than punitive measures
By Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
The federal government has expressed its willingness to review the investigation framework of the Whistleblower Policy much of which would tilt more towards exploring preventive rather than punitive measures.
The government stated that while it views the policy as being successful, a lot of work still needed to be done, adding that it would therefore initiate tight control measures capable of making it more difficult for a few people to appropriate to themselves, assets belonging to the entire country.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, who made the disclosures in Abuja yesterday at a workshop on the evaluation of the Whistleblower Policy and Assets Tracing Team, organised by the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), disclosed that the whistleblower team went on a two-week study tour to the United Kingdom in March to exchange ideas and learn about best practice.
“The team held high-level meetings with various UK government agencies, including the Serious Fraud Office, the Commonwealth Secretariat, Government Internal Audit Agency, National Audit Office, Her majesty Revenue and Customs, Financial Control Authority, the Department of Business, etc.
“The team also participated in a seminar organised by Public Concern At Work, a non-government organisation that acts as an advocate for whistleblowing by working with employees, organisations, and governments. They also seek legislative changes where required to encourage whistleblowers,” the minister said.
Adesoun, whose address was presented by the head of the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA), Dr.Mohammed Dikwa stated that to support the overall vision of proper management of recovered assets, an inter-agency assts tracing team was constituted ith representatives from the Office of the Attorney General and all investigative agencies.
The objective of this team, she said, is to centralize tracking, management and maintenance of all recovered non-cash assets in the custody of nthe federal government to ensure accountability and transparency
“The team has been tasked with tracing, verification and management of all recovered assets. This includes the disposal of assets under final forfeiture to the federal government by the court. This nwould stem general loss of value including the depreciation of motor vehicles and loss of rental income from high value properties recovered.
“Following lessons learned from the study tour, we will begin to focus more on preventive measures, putting in place tight control measures, making it more difficult for a few people to take away assets that belong to an entire country. In addition to this, the investigation framework of the whistleblower policy will be reviewed.
“We will continue to work with all stakeholders to improve the effectiveness of the policy and put in place, required institutions and tools to achieve our objective, ,” she said.