America is consistently pushing for openness and whistle-blowing as Nigeria goes after officials who expose wrongdoings.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission today announced an award of more than $150,000 to a whistleblower whose tips helped the agency stop a scheme that was defrauding investors.
This is a sharp contrast with the situation in Nigeria where the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, is hounding an informant who leaked the controversial acquisition of a N255 million armoured cars for Aviation Minister, Stella Oduah
The SEC award recipient, who does not wish to be identified, provided significant information that allowed the SEC to quickly open an investigation and obtain emergency relief before additional investors were harmed. By law, the SEC must protect the confidentiality of whistleblowers and cannot disclose any information that might directly or indirectly reveal an identity.
The award amount represents 30 percent of the money collected by the SEC in the successful enforcement action, the maximum permitted under the law.
“This is continued momentum and success for the SEC’s whistleblower program that is bringing our investigators valuable and timely information to stop ongoing frauds before additional investors can be harmed,” said Sean McKessy, chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower.
This is the sixth whistleblower to be awarded through the SEC’s whistleblower program since it began two years ago. The largest award was announced earlier this month when a whistleblower was awarded more than $14 million.
But in Nigeria, the NCAA has announced it would go after its official(s) that allegedly leaked the information on the purchase of two armoured vehicles for Minister Oduah.
Folayele Akinkuotu, the Director General of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, stated this at a press conference at the Ministry of Aviation headquarters in Abuja on October 18.
Mr. Akinkuotu said a staff of the ministry who allegedly leaked the information to journalists, was now on the run. He also condemned the leak that exposed the purchase of the two armoured cars for N255 million.
He said he was “shell-shocked’’ that government information regarding the procurement of the two vehicles was obtained illegally and transmitted to the public medium in an “illegal manner’’.
“How you obtain information and how you put it in the public purview can actually be criminal,’’ he said.
The aviation boss said the agency has issued a circular to all the staff, reminding them of the “confidentiality’’ of certain aspects of their work.
The circular read by the director-general in part said: “By the nature of our work and statutory provisions, certain levels of documents, processes and information are required for the successful day-to-day operation.
“For instance, the Civil Aviation Act makes specific provisions with respect to our obligation for confidentiality and restricted access to certain information that we procure in the conduct of our statutory functions.’’
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