-Submits Legislation for Enactment
President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has submitted to the House of Representatives a Whistle-Blower and Witness Protection Bill for approval.
The President’s Bill was forwarded to the Committee on Good Governance and Government Reform upon plenary’s unanimous decision yesterday.
The decision was reached following a motion from Montserrado County District #2 Representative Sekou Kanneh. No time or date are attached for the Committee’s work.
In her letter, President Sirleaf said that the bill is meant to strengthen Liberia’s legal framework and to empower the relevant authorities in order to effectively protect Whistle-Blowers and Witnesses from intimidation, fear and physical injuries.
The President stated that the bill when passed into law, will make Liberia to be in full compliance with the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), which calls for all state parties to take appropriate measures for the protection of witnesses, experts and victims against retaliation or intimidation for their testimony.
The Chief Executive stressed that the government has made strides to deal with the threat of corruption, noting that the passage into law of this proposed legislation will create an atmosphere that protects whistle-Blowers and witnesses, free them from intimidation, and eliminate their fears of physical injuries and other criminal activities whenever an exposure is made.
She indicated that the legislation will help government achieve its objective of substantially minimizing if not eliminating the acts of corruption and other serious crimes.
Section 5 of the bill says that a protected disclosure is any disclosure of information which in the reasonable belief of the person making the disclosure is evidence for one or more of the following: that a criminal offense has been committed, is being committed, or is likely to be committed as defined by the penal law; that a person has failed/ is failing or is likely to fail to comply with any legal obligation;that a miscarriage of justice has occurred, is occurring or is likely to occur and
that the health or safety of an individual has been, is being or is likely to be endangered.
Protected disclosure is also any information indicative of corruption, dishonesty or serious maladministration in a governmental body or private institution or on the part of an official of that body or private institution, has taken place, is taking place, or is likely to take place and without limiting the generality of this subsection, which include an abuse of power by a government body or private institution or an official thereof, or an improper or unauthorized use of funds or other assets of the state or a governmental body or private institution.
Section 6 of the bill says, a protected disclosure under section 5 can be made by an employee in respect of an employer, by an employee in respect of another employee or by a person in respect of another person, or an institution.