The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) on Thursday inaugurated a committee to draft a standardised Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for whistleblower protection in Ghana in Accra.
The SOP is expected to address the challenges and weaknesses identified in the current systems for operationalising whistleblowing, as well as provide more efficient and effective implementation of the Whistleblower Act in the country.
During 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 the lack of implementation was largely due to the absence of necessary mechanisms.
“This is not allowing whistleblowers to report and be effectively protected under the law, hence Ghana has identified that strengthening the Whistleblower Protection and Reporting System is important for accelerating the impact of the Whistleblower Act” she said.
DrPortas explained that the SOP would ensure that the law was simplified to the understanding of all citizens. It would also be a useful training and awareness campaign material offering unique opportunities for collaborations among all relevant institutions, and serve as a policy to complement the existing law in strengthening whistleblower protection.
The Deputy Commissioner of CHRAJ, Mr Richard Quayson, on his part affirmed the whistleblowing mechanism as one of the tools needed for combating corruption.
Indicating that the fight against corruption was enormous and required effective strategies to fight it, with one of them being the whistleblowing mechanism.
“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,” he said.
Mr Quayson highlighted 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.
He, 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 committee members, comprising three women and four men who were sworn-in by Ms Mercy Larbi, another Deputy Commissioner of CHRAJ, included 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.
BY ANITA ANKRAH