The Federal Government has released N375.8 million for the payment of 20 whistle-blowers who’s information led to the recovery of over N11.6 billion.

The disclosure was made on Wednesday in a statement issued by the Ministry of Finance.

The statement reads in part:  “This payment is the first under the Whistle blower Policy…

“The payment underscores the commitment of the President Muhmmadu Buhari-led administration to meet its obligations to information providers under the Whistle-blower Policy, which is an essential tool in the fight against corruption”.

The identities of the whistle blowers who benefitted from the payment were not made known.

This, it is believed, is to ensure their safety.

The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, in the statement, said the amendment to the  Whistle blower Policy of the government included the introduction of a formal legal agreement between information providers and the Federal Government.

According to her, the agreement was carried out by the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, with each whistle blower entitled to a minimum of five per cent of the money involved in the corruption case reported.

The payment is expected to be made after the sum in question must have been recovered and put in government account.

The policy has also indicated that anyone who makes a false claim in the name of whistle blowing risks prosecution and imprisonment.

The policy is made to guarantee the protection of the identities of the whistle blowers, even at the point of payment.

The payments, Adeosun, explained, were taxable.

In her explanation, Adeosun said the Whistle-blower Unit is a multi-agency team in the Ministry of Finance Headquarters and made up of staff of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC); the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC); State Security Services (SSS); the Nigeria Police Force and Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA), among others.

It would be recalled that the Whistle-blowers Policy was launched by the Minister of Finance in December 2016 to encourage members of the public volunteer credible information about corruption cases in the country.

No fewer than 2,150 communications and 337 tips had been received by the government through the Whistle-blower Unit’s dedicated channels from various Nigerians.

The minister said these had led to the recovery of substantial assets illegally acquired by individuals across the country.

The details of the recoveries so far made are yet to be made public.