Watchdog seeks more protection for whistleblowers

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Watchdog seeks more protection for whistleblowers
Watchdog seeks more protection for whistleblowers

Africa-PressRwanda. Transparency International has announced that whistleblowers are facing a lot of challenges, and hence need more policies and laws protecting them.

The remarks were made on Friday, December 11 2020, during a consultative meeting between Transparency International, the office of the ombudsperson and civil societies.

Among the challenges that whistleblowers face after reporting corruption cases include intimidation and loss of jobs.

“These people are in danger because if you have reported your supervisor, you risk losing your job, or get intimidated with threats of death,” said Dr Renee Munyamahoro, a law professor at The University of Rwanda.

After highlighting the challenges, they listed out some of the recommendations that they would like to be implemented.

The Watchdog together with activists called upon the government to establish an employee in charge of receiving whistleblower cases in each institution because sometimes they are reported to people who go back and inform the accused about the whistleblower’s identity which puts them in trouble.

“To preserve the image of certain institutions, those who receive cases do not take them to prosecution, but rather opt to talk to the accused.

When talking to them, they sometimes disclose the whistleblower’s identity which puts them at risk”, said Collette Ndabarushimana, a law and politics coordinator at Transparency international.

They also requested that cases ought to be filed in a code format so as to hide the identities of the whistleblower. Appolinaire Mupinganyi, the Executive Secretary of Transparency International said that it is one of the ways to protect whistleblowers from being victimized.

“The government should put in place tough measures to ensure whistleblowers are not victimized.

These include hiding the whistleblower’s identities in a code format and put in place strict sanctions for anyone who tries to disclose them”, he noted.

Together with activists, the lawyers said that this will be combined in the presidential order determining modalities for the implementation of the provision relating to rewards of whistleblowers as provided in the law no 44 bis/2017 of 06/09/2017 relating to the protection of whistleblowers in Rwanda.

“The law was drafted in 2017, but of course approval is a process which takes a long time, but as long as the order is there, everything will be done with the legal framework”, commented Odette Yankurije, The Deputy Ombudsman in charge of prevention and fight against injustice.

The total cases reported by whistleblowers in 2019 are 339 which make up 13.2 of the corruption cases reported in that year.

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