In its move to end corruption, the Joint Unions Negotiating Team is calling for the installation of the whistleblower’s act, a piece of legislation that will allow for persons to come forward with information and proof of misappropriation of public funds or corruption by public officials. News Five spoke with attorney-at-law Darrell Bradley who broke down the intention of the draft legislation.
Darrell Bradley, Attorney-at-law
“This is legislation that is very common in the region. The United States has very extensive whistleblower legislation which is very different from our draft legislation because they incentivise it, meaning that there is an economic incentive for an individual whistleblower to come forward. You get a percentage of any monies that are recovered as a result of your reporting of misappropriation or untoward governmental action. So the purpose of it is to protect or insulate persons who have information about governmental wrongdoing and you are trying to protect them from the actions they may take to expose that. So a whistleblower is an individual who would be somebody usually in a position that has information and knowledge and the draft legislation provides for a procedure for them to bring their information, even anonymously to the attention of investigation agencies, to the authorities, to the media so that it may become known. And what the legislation does is that it protects them from victimization or ill-treatment as a result of the fact that they become a whistleblower.”
Attorney Says Draft Whistleblower Legislation Not Enough
But according to Bradley, the whistleblower act on its own does not have teeth. He says that there is need for strengthening of the investigative bodies as well as the inclusion of other pieces of legislation to recover misappropriated assets or monies.
Darrell Bradley, Attorney-at-law
“Anti-corruption legislation is not about one piece of legislation; it is about an array of legislation that really feeds into one another. So that if there is whistle-blowing activity, there has to be a strong investigation arm and then there also has to be some legislation or mechanism for you to recover the proceeds of illicit gain. Arguably one of the things that the bill does is that it doesn’t really advance that argument. You need more in terms of the legislation to make it effective and you need a system of legislation including institutional support to the mechanisms – the investigating arms of the police, the F.I.U., the integrity commission. One of the things that was reported when I was President of the Senate is that there are very little forensic auditors, there are very little legal experts for these investigating offices – they are not budgeted for. So one of the things that you are going to find out is if we pass whistleblower’s legislation, it may not really have an effect in reducing corruption because the institutional mechanisms are not there to redress against corruption and this is only one piece of legislation among a package of legislation that needs to be passed so that we really have the issue of governmental action being vetted appropriately and you have a system of accountability and transparency laws. This alone will not do it.”