Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) director general Martha Chizuma has said Malawi will strive to come up with the best whistleblower protection legislation that other countries can learn from.
In an interview on Thursday after a two-day workshop aimed at coming up with a whistleblower legislation, Chizuma said the country stands a better chance of coming up with a good legislation after learning from others’ mistakes.
“Much as Malawi was not featuring on the list of countries that have the whistleblower legislation, the fact that we have done this later is a blessing in disguise.
“What is going to happen is that we are going to learn from all the mistakes that our sister countries made. Our law will be a much more improved version of their laws. So we will have a beautiful law,” she said.
She said from the inputs that stakeholders made, it was clear that they want a law that offers comprehensive protection of whistleblowers.
She said stakeholders have also emphasised that the law should be something that is implementable, adding that it should speak to the economic position of the country.
She said after the discussions
on whistleblowers protection by stakeholders in Lilongwe, the country will now be led by the Law Commission into drafting of the legislation.
UNDP chief technical adviser Richard Cox said having such legislation will help the country fight corruption. He said when people feel they have some form of protection, they will have the confidence to report corruption and other crimes.
He said it is for the stakeholders in Malawi to see what is realistic and what can be implemented.
“National ownership in all these processes is vital. It will be completely wrong for me to start enumerating what I hope the legislation contains. That would be would be precisely interference with the sovereign affairs,” said Cox.
He said the UN is ready to be part of the process and share knowledge on best practices and expertise.
Currently, Malawi does not have a stand-alone legislation for protection of whistleblowers. However, in some acts, including Corrupt Practices Act (CPA), there are provisions of whistleblowers protection, but the provisions are not strong enough to protect whistleblowers as fines and sentences provided are lenient.
For instance, Section 51 A (5) of the Corrupt Practices Act provides that any person who takes any kind of action to punish or victimise a whistleblower shall be liable to a fine of K50 000 and two years’ imprisonment.n