Next millionaires? AG’s bill carries goodies for whistleblowers

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Attorney General’s office is championing for a draft bill which proposes that whistleblowers be entitled to 10 percent of money or assets recovered from the stolen loot.

This bill that is set to be presented to the parliament will make many whistle blowers out there become millionaires after every exposed scandal.

This means that the whistleblower of the Sh791 million NYS scandal could walk home with a cool Sh79 million if the suspects are convicted and the money recovered.

Just this year alone, investigations have busted multi-billion scandals in various government agencies including Kenya Power, Kenya Bureau of Standards and the Ministry of Sports. Some were broken by the media.

According to the proposed law, a Whistleblower Reward Fund financed mainly by the exchequer and donors would be established. It’s from this fund that whistleblowers would be paid.

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“A whistle-blower who makes a disclosure which leads to the arrest and conviction of an accused person shall be rewarded with money from the Fund,” reads part of the Bill.

In the event the anti-graft agencies recover an asset, the whistle blower would be entitled to 10 percent reward of its value.

The draft Bill is under scrutiny by various stakeholders including the Attorney General and the Director of Public Prosecutions offices, civil society groups and Parliament.

The reward plan comes amid the sustained campaign against corruption with increased prosecution of suspected offenders. President Uhuru Kenyatta has repeatedly vowed to wipe graft, the latest being during his Mashujaa Day address on Saturday, in which he pledged to streamline and empower the EACC to combat corruption.

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The government in 2015 contemplated rewarding whistleblowers with at least 15 per cent of recovered money or penalty.

The proposal was among numerous measures reportedly discussed during US President Barrack Obama’s visit in July the same year.

The proposed Bill was initiated by former Attorney Githu Muigai who chaired a taskforce which sought to fill institutional gaps in exposing graft by enlisting public support.

The taskforce report presented to President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2015 indicated that “weak regimes of witness and whistle-blower protection” have been impeding war on graft in the country.

The report contained the recommendation for the country to have a whistleblower law with provisions for handsome financial incentives to citizens who expose graft.

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The Githu-led team also recommended that a False Claims Act be put in place to allow private persons to sue for recovery of loss incurred in government contracting and illicit acquisition of wealth through corruption.

National Assembly Majority leader Aden Duale yesterday said the AG’s office is yet to submit the Bill to the House.

“We are waiting for it. The Attorney General should tell us why he has not submitted it to Parliament,” Duale told one of the local dailies.

A senior deputy solicitor in the AG’s office said they are waiting for recommendations from the stakeholders for “validation” before forwarding the Bill to Parliament

Last week, civil society groups such as Transparency International-Kenya chapter, Kenya Human Rights Commission and the Katiba Institute met in Nairobi to scrutinize the draft law.

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