No hiding place for Nigerian looters as EU gives teeth to whistleblowing
A tough era has set in for looters and crooks who use European banks and sundry investments to launder stolen money from their countries and from drugs and other illicit means with the unveiling of a new proposal by the European Commission which gives protection to whistleblowers across the continent.
Europe of late has become the money launderers beautiful bride including financiers of terrorism across the globe. The new rule to give cover to whistleblowers will therefore remove the cloud of secrecy which has over the years shrouded financial transactions in Europe. Nigeria, Brazil, Venezuela, Italy among other countries have had suspicious financial dealings with European nations with some exposed while many more are left unreported. The Nigeria Malabu oil deal involving Eni and Shell have strong roots in Europe.
Nigerians were also involved in other scams including the Panama Papers and Cambridge Analytica.
The new pan-European whistleblower protection policy has caught the fancy of international anti-corruption agencies including Transparency International (TI). In its latest release, TI lauded the proposal describing it as a bold step in recognising the importance and rights of whistleblowers.
The TI statement reads: “Today, the European Commission published its long-awaited proposal for an EU-wide Whistleblower Directive, which is a bold step in recognising the importance and rights of whistleblowers, according to Transparency International EU. The proposal, which is a victory for whistleblowers and campaigners alike, could not come at a more vital time, said the anti-corruption group.
“Behind each and every major scandal, from Lux Leaks, to the Panama Papers and Cambridge Analytica, change in our time is being driven by whistleblowers,” said Nicholas Aiossa, of Transparency International EU. “The European Commission has produced an ambitious proposal, which will need to be strengthened to ensure that whistleblowers, no matter who they are or where they work, will be protected,” continued Aiossa.
The proposed legislation will give much greater protection for individuals who wish to come forward when they encounter corruption or illegality in the workplace and will provide both public and private sector employers with greater legal certainty around their rights and obligations. Transparency International have long called for whistleblower protection and this text is a significant step in the right direction within the context of EU treaty competencies.
Until now EU countries have had different levels of protection for those who wish to expose the truth, with some countries such as Ireland having good laws in place and some such as Cyprus having practically none. While certain provisions need to be strengthened, this proposal provides a strong foundation for potential whistleblowers to be protected under EU law.
Now this proposal will have to be negotiated between the European Parliament and European Council before being adopted. Transparency International urges these institutions to uphold the commitments in this text as it passes through the legislative process and to examine where it might be improved in line with international best practices.