Whistleblowers Bill tabled - Solomon Star News

Whistleblowers Bill tabled
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24 July 2018
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PRIME Minister, Rick Hou, has tabled the Whistleblowers Protection Bill 2016 in Parliament on Monday to protect people who come forward with information about conduct that may create corruption, and they who cooperate with investigations into corruption.

The Bill also covers people who reports cases of maladministration and misconduct in office.

Mr Hou said it is no coincidence that this Bill has been brought for enactment together with the Anti-Corruption Bill (ACB) 2017.

“Indeed, the Whistleblowers Protection Bill is expected to contribute significantly to the effectiveness of the proposed Anti-Corruption law.

“The successful prosecution of cases relating to bribery, abuse of office for private gain and other corruption related offences would depend to a large extent on the willingness of witnesses to cooperate with investigation authorities,” he said.

Mr Hou said protection, afforded by the Whistleblowers Protection Bill, is therefore expected to increase the success of prosecution, because witnesses may be more forthcoming to assist the investigation knowing they will be protected under this new law, if she or he asks for that protection.

“A person may also be more willing to disclose an act of corruption if she/he knows that his/her identity will be protected under this propose law.

“It is precisely for that reason that the purpose of this Bill is to protect a person who, in good faith, discloses an act that is appearing to be a corrupt act or an act of maladministration or misconduct in office from liability and victimisation,” he said.

Furthermore, Mr Hou said the protection from liability will be afforded to a person when she/he discloses an act of corruption in the public interest or when cooperating with investigation authorities.

He said the protection from liability simply means that the person making the disclosure will not be incriminated from the contents of the disclosure he or she has made to the authority.

“He or she cannot be held liable also from making the disclosure even if the disclosure was made in breach of an obligation of confidentiality,” he said.

Moreover, PM Hou said it should also be noted, that where the person making the disclosure asked for protection, but his/her disclosure and identity had been publicised by the media with his/her consent, protection of that person’s identity under this law would be unfeasible or impracticable.

“He or she of course would still be protected from being victimised or liable for the contents of the information disclosed to an authority,” he said.

The debate on the Bill is suspended for later date.

By EDDIE OSIFELO

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