Lagos State Commissioner for Finance, Dr. Rabiu Olowo, has called for a review of the policy on financial incentives for whistleblowing, stating that preventing theft is better than recovery efforts and chasing thieves.
The Commissioner, who made the call in a keynote address at the ongoing Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) Malaysia District Conference in Kuching, Malaysia, maintained that while whistleblowing is a patriotic activity and should be embraced by all, it would not be a selfless undertaking if tied solely to material gain.
He averred that in more advanced countries like the United Kingdom, whistleblowers are usually motivated by the good of the society, arguing that the policy might not be sustainable in the long-run if civic duty is not emphasised.
Furthermore, the Commissioner argued that it may be better to emphasise policies that prevent corruption, in the first instance, than policies that seek to recover funds after they might have disappeared, noting that while financial incentives have led to a sharp increase in whistleblowing cases, there is a need for critical analysis and further research to determine the efficacy and sustainability of financial incentives in a country with a norm of corruption.
According to him, “The financial incentives introduced in the Nigerian case is witnessing a lot of hiccups, arguments, accusations and counter-accusations. There have also been several cases of fake whistleblowing as desperate wealth seekers may have turned it into a “money-making business”.
“In the current administration in Lagos State, I am an advocate of effective internal controls and prudent management of public funds in line with Governor Sanwo-Olu’s vision”, he remarked.