Ukraine: Zelensky Signs Into Force Law On Corruption Whistle-Blowers
By RFE RL
(RFE/RL) — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on November 13 signed a corruption whistle-blower law that parliament adopted last month.
It incentivizes reporting graft by offering whistle-blowers 10 percent of a bribe or the amount the state incurs in losses due to corrupt schemes.
The tipster qualifies for the 10 percent cut only if the bribe meets the threshold of 5,000 or more times the minimum wage – 10 million hryvnias or $410,000 at the current exchange rate.
Thus, the whistle-blower can at least expect $41,000 for reporting wrongdoing.
A potential tipster can report the crime either internally where they work or thorough the media, civil society, or trade unions, as well at the National Agency on Corruption Prevention (NAZK).
Whatever information is passed on must confirm the possible act of a corruption crime and must be verified on a preliminary basis within 10 days.
Then a decision is made on whether to conduct an internal investigation, give the materials to law enforcement investigative body, or close the case if the facts aren’t confirmed.
Findings of the preliminary review are given to the accuser within three days of its completion.
The duration of internal investigations is 30 days, and if necessary, 60 days.
The most whistle-blowers can expect to receive is $51,000, or 3,000 more than the monthly minimum wage.
If there is more than one whistle-blower, then that sum gets proportionately divided based on the weight and significance of what each tipster divulges.
A court determines the exact award based on the extent to which the information is exclusive to the tipster and its significance in terms of facts that can be verified, and which lead to findings of corrupt behavior.
Rights to monetary awards aren’t given to people who cooperate with an investigation into graft, those who took part in the corrupt scheme on which they report, or if they reported corruption although they have the authority to officially report it within their professional capacity.
NAZK’s role is to review whistle-blower reports, cooperate with and protect them, as well prosecute those who violate their rights for reporting corruption.
Tipsters have the right to remain anonymous and if the situation warrants it, they and their close ones are afforded a witness protection program.
In certain circumstances, they are absolved of legal liability, are offered psychological care, and reimbursed legal fees.
Whistle-blowers who disclose false information can also be held legally accountable, but only if that information is reported through public channels, not internally or through a law enforcement body.