Nigeria: Plateau Employs Whistleblowing to Drive Revenue

28 September 2021

Seriki Adinoyi

As part of its intense drive for revenue generation in the state, the Plateau State government has employed whistleblowing mechanism, where an individual who discovers information they believe constitutes serious wrongdoing, such as financial malpractice, impropriety, fraud, or non-compliance with the provisions of the Revenue Law, 2020, is expected to disclose it without fear of reprisal.

Giving highlights on the state revenue drive development, the Secretary to the State Internal Revenue Service, Mrs. Rahila Olu-Silas said: "Stakeholders engagement is a perquisite to the development of guidelines, policies and legislations", adding that the whistleblowing guidelines will serve as a legal framework to guide the development of whistleblowing regulations and any decision to be taken by government.

According to the draft whistleblowing guidelines, "The whistleblowing sub-committee will treat any disclosures received from whistle blowers in strict confidence and in a sensitive manner. The identity/identities of individual(s) making an allegation will be kept confidential so long as it does not hinder or frustrate any investigation.

"However, if and when there is a need, the investigation process may require that the source of information and/or the name of an individual making the disclosure be revealed. In such situations, the individual making a disclosure may be required to provide a statement or documentary evidence as part of the requirements for the investigation.

"The whistleblowing mechanism is designed to offer protection to individuals who disclose such concerns provided the disclosure is made in good faith, in the reasonable belief of the individual making the disclosure that it tends to show serious wrongdoing, such as financial malpractice, impropriety, fraud, or non-compliance with the provisions of the Revenue Law 2020 provided that such disclosure is made through the appropriate channel."

According to the draft, individuals/witnesses making any disclosure will be assured of anonymity and protection, and the disclosures and names of individuals shall be protected by the whistleblowing sub-committee, members of revenue council and the special investigating unit at the Plateau State Internal Service.

It warned that disciplinary action shall be taken against any current or former member of the council or any staff of the Special Investigation Unit at the Revenue Service that discloses the identity of the whistle blower in accordance with the provisions in Section 119 of the Revenue Law 2020.

It warned that where an individual makes an allegation in good faith, which is not confirmed by subsequent investigation, no action will be taken against that individual, but added that in making a disclosure the individual must exercise due care to ensure the accuracy of the information. "If, however, an individual makes malicious or vexatious allegations, and particularly if he or she persists at making them, disciplinary action may be taken against that individual."

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