Two countries are moving closer to providing whistleblower rewards as part of their anti-corruption programs.
In December of 2019, the Brazilian House of Representatives approved amendments to Law 13,698 of 2018, including a provision that provides more protection as well as monetary incentives for whistleblowers. This amendment, to be reviewed by the Brazilian Senate later this year, would establish protections for whistleblowers against retaliation and guarantee whistleblowers the right to remain anonymous. However, most notably, this amendment would also allow whistleblowers to recover up to 5% of government damages potentially.
Similarly, in February of 2020, James Marape, the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, publicly stated his intention to provide rewards to whistleblowers. “I want to go one step further again to relook at the Whistleblowers Bill to give reward to those who report bribery, and corruption…Instead of you giving money or bribery to others, you report bribery and we will reward you and protect you in terms of you reporting bribery in our economy and our country,” Marape announced.
Currently, the United States, South Korea, Ghana, Slovakia, and Canada are the only nations that have whistleblower reward programs, beyond compensation for retaliation and legal fees. However, such programs are fundamental to encouraging whistleblowers to make reports. Not only do these rewards often offset the cost of being a whistleblower(including the cost of potential unemployment resulting from blowing the whistle on an employer or industry), they work as a counter-balance to the economic incentives present in allowing or participating in the fraud.
Furthermore, these programs work in encouraging high-quality whistleblowers to come forward. Therefore, these two nations’ consideration of provisions containing whistleblower rewards could have a significant effect on global anti-corruption efforts.