Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Govt to enforce whistleblower law

Kathmandu, March 29 - As a precautionary measure to check corruption and irregularities in public offices, the government is soon to enforce a Whistleblowers Protection Ordinance (WPO).
Speaking at an interaction in the capital on Tuesday, Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Niranjan Thapa said the WPO is basically aimed at protecting informants who report any kind of irregularities taking place in government offices.

He said that the government had so far failed to guarantee such informants security of their jobs and pensions against their seniors. "The WPO will help to protect such interests of informants and contribute to promoting good governance by checking irregularities in the country," added Thapa.

Attorney General Laxmi Bahadur Nirala said this kind of legislation was necessitated to establish good governance and strengthening the same, expressing the belief that this would assist in taking action against persons misusing the power given them by the laws and harming the people.He said since it is the Attorney General who has the right to take final decision on proceeding ahead the cases presented in courts on behalf the government, as per the Constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal-1990, it was necessary to enumerate provision on this topic in the draft of the Bill.

Vice-chairman of Nepal Law Reforms Commission, Udaya Nepali Shrestha expressed the belief that the interaction would be of help in giving suggestions for creating an environment of the rule of law in the country and in formulating laws that are in conformity with the world context.Secretary at the Ministry of General Administration Madhav Prasad Ghimire said the draft of the bill contains provisions regarding the outline of the information provided by the whistleblower, the proper official to who the information has to be given and the kind of procedure to be followed and the protection and the facilities to be provided the whistleblower.

Hari Prasad Neupane, secretary at the Nepal Law Reform Commission (NLRC), said the proposed ordinance mentions confidentiality of information and protection of informants.

He also said that the draft has, among other things, made provisions for rewards to informants and incentives to encourage the reporting of misdeeds to the government authorities concerned.
Claiming that lower level officials often fail to speak about irregularities by their seniors for fear of losing their jobs, Neupane added, "The WPO will embolden officials to speak against any irregularities in their offices."

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