Cases, courage and compensation: summary of whistleblower news
Many important stories have made international headlines in recent weeks. Here are some of the most notable articles on whistleblowing and anti-corruption.
Nurse Linda Fair Hall was awarded £462,000 (US$564,000) in compensation following his successful whistleblower retaliation case in a UK employment tribunal. Fairhall, a nursing team leader who had worked for the National Health Service (NHS) for 38 years, was suspended in 2016 and fired in 2018 after warning managers that understaffing was putting patients at risk. One patient’s death could have been avoided, she said.
“This important judgment should serve as a warning to leaders that it is not acceptable to abuse people for speaking out,” NHS National Guardian Jayne Chidgey-Clark said of the 31 decision. may. Despite appealing an earlier ruling in favor of Fairhall, an NHS spokesperson said the healthcare provider ‘remains committed to helping staff and patients raise concerns about the practice and care”.
Wafiy Abd Aziz, possibly the first person to be charged with retaliation against a whistleblower, has been acquitted by a Malaysian court. A judge ruled May 20 that prosecutors failed to prove a prima facie case against Aziz, who was accused of participating in the firing of an Education Malaysia Global Services employee. The employee had reported alleged financial misconduct in the company to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission. Aziz had faced up to 15 years in prison and a fine of RM100,000 (US$24,000).
After a long campaign, lawyers in Lebanon have gathered enough resources to file lawsuits on behalf of the victims of the August 2020 Beirut port explosion. Marie Gantous and Rami Ichraqieh announced on May 19 that they had filed claims for damages with the Lebanese Council of State.
One of the largest non-nuclear explosions in history, the blast is believed to have killed at least 218 people, injured more than 7,000 and caused $15 billion in property damage. “Lebanon has never witnessed such a huge catastrophe and the stigma will be long to come – whether human, social, economic and psychological,” the lawyers said in a statement.
As an indication of the growing concern over the security of mobile devices, Dr. Marc Arazi published his groundbreaking book in English – PHONEGATE: overexposed and misled; What the cell phone industry doesn’t want you to know. “The companies that make our precious smartphones have knowingly exposed us to RF radiation far beyond safety standards,” Arazi writes. “To make matters worse, some of them even have built-in software that fakes test results – just like [Volkswagen] Diesel scandal.”
Using official data from the French government, Arazi found in 2016 that 90% of cellphone models exceeded regulatory exposure limits. In 2019, tests commissioned by the Chicago Tribune found that the radiation emitted by Apple’s iPhone 7 exceeded FCC limits and was more than double what Apple had reported in its own tests.
Kenya joined the growing number of countries with reward programs for witnesses whose disclosures lead to enforcement action. The Capital Markets Authority, which regulates Kenya’s stock market and financial services sector, announced in June that it would pay whistleblowers 3% of penalties and illicit gains recovered from culprits.
Rewards are capped at 5 million schillings ($42,000), or about three years’ average salary in Kenya. According to international best practices, rewards should not be capped, in order to maximize the impact and effectiveness of these programs. There are now at least 16 countries that have instituted or announced monetary rewards for whistleblowers, according to the Center for Whistleblower Rights & Rewards.
Support for whistleblowers
Luxemburg, which has criminally prosecuted “LuxLeaks” whistleblowers Antoine Deltour and Raphaël Halet for exposing the country’s tax avoidance policies, has proposed a new whistleblower protection office. The idea was announced earlier this year as part of Luxembourg’s efforts to comply with new EU rules. According to the bill, the new office would help people considering reporting crimes and corruption, and help businesses comply with new whistleblower rules.
Several other European countries have set up whistleblower offices, including Ireland, the Netherlands and Slovakia. Many other countries are considering moving.
Saudi Arabia continues to roll out new and expanded whistleblower programs in an effort to fight corruption. The Supervisory and Anti-Corruption Authority, which investigates financial and administrative corruption, has set up an online and telephone system for citizens to report offences. “No whistleblower will be harmed because of their reporting,” the agency said. As of August 2021, the agency said it has arrested 282 people and initiated enforcement actions against 748 others. These include employees of various ministries accused of corruption, forgery and abuse of power.
The Saudi Monetary Authority has issued a whistleblower policy that asks financial institutions to encourage employees and stakeholders to report misconduct, provide confidential reporting channels, protect employees from retaliation, and protect their identities .
Plagued by corruption and culture-changing whistleblower cases, South Africa has a new resource for citizen testimony, The Whistleblower House. Founded earlier this year, the nonprofit group said it would support whistleblowers, build awareness of whistleblowers’ rights and promote their role in strengthening ethics and democracy. Its services include legal, financial, psychological and security support. The founders and staff include many prominent former whistleblowers, including Martha Ngoye of the Passenger Rail Agency, Ivan Pillay of the South African Revenue Service and Cynthia Stimpel of South African Airways.
In the most notable case of South Africa, whistleblowers ousted President Jacob Zuma in 2018 after revealing a massive, multilayered state capture scandal involving India’s Gupta family. Two Gupta brothers, Atul and Rajesh, were arrested in Dubai earlier this month on charges of bribery, fraud and money laundering.