The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) has inaugurated a committee to draft a standardized Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for whistleblower protection in Ghana at the Commission’s Head Office in Accra.
The whistleblower Act was passed in 2006 to improve the nation’s ability to fight corruption and other forms of unlawful conduct by providing support and protection to any person who discloses impropriety or exposes corrupt or other unlawful conduct.
The new SOP, is expected to address the challenges and weaknesses identified in the current systems for operationalizing whistleblowing and provide for a more efficient and effective implementation of the Whistleblower Act in Ghana.
Speaking at the swearing-in ceremony, the Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Officer at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Dr. Louise Portas said Ghana has identified that strengthening The Whistleblower Protection and Reporting System is important for accelerating the impact of the Whistleblower Act.
She opined that the lack of implementation was largely due to the absence of necessary mechanisms allowing for whistleblowers to report and be effectively protected under the law, insufficient coordination between key accountability institutions and authorities with specific roles, under the law, on the implementation process.
Dr. Portas explained that the new standardized SOP will ensure that the law is simplified to the understanding of all citizens. She said it would also be a useful training and awareness campaign material, offering unique opportunities for collaboration among all relevant institutions and serve as a policy to complement the existing law in strengthening whistleblower protection.
Deputy Commissioner of CHRAJ, Mr. Richard Quayson on his part, affirmed the whistleblowing mechanism as one of the tools needed for combating corruption.
He indicated that the fight against corruption is enormous and requires effective strategies to fight it, one of them being the whistleblowing mechanism.
According to him, this mechanism is expected to make it easy for individuals who witness, or get to know about corrupt and improper acts to disclose them to the appropriate institutions without fear.
Mr. Quayson bemoaned that less than 2000 whistleblower complaints have been received by key accountability Institutions for the past 16 years since the whistleblower Act was passed. This he attributed to insufficient education on the values and benefits of disclosing impropriety and reporting corruption, and the lack of confidence in the procedures for investigations and mechanisms for protecting whistleblowers.
Deputy Commissioner Quayson, therefore, urged the committee to commit their time and energy to ensure completion of the SOP on schedule, assuring them of the needed support from all the accountability institutions.
The Seven (7) committee members consisting three women and four men who were sworn-in by Ms. Mercy Larbi, another Deputy Commissioner of CHRAJ, are Ms. Alice Chanayireh, Ms. Jacqueline Opoku, Ms. Mother Theresa Brew, Mr. Stephen Azantilow, Mr. Wisdom K. Xetor, Mr. David A. Adjei, and Mr. Elom Donald Bani.