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Lagos commissioner advocates theft preventive measures to curb corruption

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Lagos State Commissioner for Finance, Dr Rabiu Olowo, has called for a review of the approach of curbing corruption in Nigeria.

Olowo, who spoke at the ongoing Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN Malaysia District) Conference ongoing at Kuching, Malaysia, said preventing theft is better than recovery efforts and chasing thieves.

The commissioner opined that while whistleblowing is a patriotic activity that should be encouraged, it would not be a selfless undertaking if tied solely to material gain.

Citing examples, he said whistleblowers in the United kingdom are usually motivated by the good of the society.
He argued that the policy might not be sustainable if civic engagement is not emphasised.

“First, what if those who steal public funds first settle potential whistleblowers with part of the money, would they still blow the whistle after collecting their own share?,” he said.

“Second, are those who collect financial incentives actually patriotic or they are seeking for their share of stolen money? Third, should financial incentives be paid before recovery of stolen money or after? What if the monies are not recovered?

He noted that while financial incentives have led to an increase in whistleblowing participation, there is need for critical analysis and research to determine the efficacy and sustainability of financial incentives in a country with a norm of corruption.

“For instance, 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,” he said.

“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.”


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