By Nume Ekeghe
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, has urged accountant and other professionals in the financial system to utilise the whistleblower policy to report suspicious offences in their respective organisations and agencies.
She also noted that the whistle-blower policy has aided the federal government’s anti-corruption fight, noting that the government on its part was continually putting measures to curb corrupt practices in government parastatals.
She said this yesterday at the sensitisation program organised by the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN) for its members in Abuja.
In her keynote address, she said: “Ethical and integrity questions are germane to the Accountancy Profession and indeed to all other professional groups.
“In accountancy, ethical behavior centres on competence, integrity, objectivity, independence, responsibility, conscientiousness and conformity to standards, amongst others.
“It therefore follows that good ethical standards must be exhibited by accountants at all times either as professionals under public or private sector employment or as practitioners providing independent professional services. Accountants are indeed in a position to stem corrupt and fraudulent practices anytime they lean on the twin pillars of sound professional ethics and personal integrity.”
She added: “Accountants acting in public interest can refuse to acquiesce to any form of conspiracy to commit any infraction or get involved (or even ignore) corrupt tendencies. “Accountants can also diligently detect and report corruption, as their profession has a deep tilt towards transparency, integrity and accountability in the service of common good.”
She further noted that the whistle-blower policy is another corruption-fighting strategy initiated by the federal government in 2016, to encourage, reward and expose financial crimes by the general public through offering the whistleblowers some financial rewards for information that leads to successful recoveries.
She added: “A maximum reward of five per cent of the recovered loot is currently payable once proven that the recovery was achieved directly through the information obtained from the whistle blowers or through the information provided by them.
“The policy also entails maximum protection for the whistle blowers that may be threatened, harmed or suffers losses for exposing any corrupt or fraudulent practices.
“So far, the policy is recording major successes as a citizenry collaborative anticorruption strategy. Nigerians are once more assured of the sincerity of government and should therefore feel comfortable to participate in deepening this policy option or window for fighting all facets of financial infractions in our country.”
On the steps being taken by federal government to curb corruption in its agencies and parastatals, she said the government has stepped up its Public Sector Financial Management Reforms Strategies.
“Current realities entail that governments the world over must strategize to ensure that polices are tailored to achieve optimal impact towards the overall good of their citizenry. In view of the burdening pressure on the economy, government has no choice but to deliberately control cost, while boosting its revenue in order to achieve an equilibrium that would ensure stability of resources for the execution of government policies.”