On November 13, the President signed the law on whistleblowers, and later the parliamentary newspaper published it. On this occasion, we are recalling what TI Ukraine’s legal advisor Oleksandr Kalitenko told Podrobytsi Tyzhnia on the new points.
A whistleblower is a person who reports possible facts of corruption or corruption-related violations with a sincere belief in their truthfulness. Such facts can become known to the whistleblower in connection with their professional, economic, social or scholarly activity, service or education.
The Ukrainian law prohibits any discrimination against the whistleblower or their family, for instance, problems at their workplace.
“They can be denied vacation time, promotion, contract extension, they can be transferred or their salary or other work conditions can be changed. The burden of proof in such situations in court is placed on the employer.”
Whistleblowers receive a 10% reward following a guilty verdict (but not more than 3,000 minimum wages). This is only in cases where the whistleblower is not an accomplice, has not made a deal with the investigation and has not reported the violation based on his / her professional duties. The information provided by the whistleblower should be previously unknown to the law enforcement and contribute to proving the crime.
However, says Oleksandr Kalitenko, “it is not entirely clear where this reward will come from. It is calculated based not on the money recovered to the national budget, but on the damages incurred by the government due to the crime which exceed 5,000 minimum living standards.” It will also take some time to pay the reward. First corruption has to be proved in the court decision.
Whistleblowers are not “tattletales.” “Whistleblowers report abuses committed by public officials. This is not like, I don’t like my neighbor and want him to be sent away because I’m jealous of his apartment, like it was in the 30s.”
This law is a necessary anti-corruption tool.
However, it still has critical shortcomings that need to be eliminated.