Govt. urged to develop whistle blower law

The Public Service Commission has urged the Government to develop whistleblower legislation that was enacted in 2014. 

The call was made in the last Annual Review for the Public Administration Sector Plan 2013-2014 to 2017-2018 which was published by the Public Service Commission. 

According to the report, stakeholders were given the opportunity to suggest areas the next sector plan should focus on, and highlighted areas that they thought should be addressed in the development of the next Public Administration Sector Plan. These include the development of whistleblower legislation, in line with establishment of an anti-corruption body. Also included in the list was the implementation of One Public Sector-One vision for good governance - One Policy paper; 

Knowledge based economy; Expansion of Public Administration Sector coverage to include all SOEs (as most of initiatives developed by PSC affects whole public sector); Review of working conditions and entitlements for general employees; 

Human Resource priorities and its relationship to the work of MESC and SQA and Provision of information such as the kind of education and training needed to achieve Samoa’s development goals in the Strategy for the Development of Samoa. 

In the meantime, the Audit Office has established a special audit unit within its office for whistleblowers in the public sector who want to report fraud and other irregularities.

The establishment of the unit comes on the back of laws enacted in 2014, which recommended that the Audit Office facilitate voluntary reporting of fraud and other irregularities, and ensure there is legal protection for whistleblowers.

The unit has been formed with newly qualified certified fraud examiners and will recruit legal and police expertise to cater for civil servants-turned-whistleblowers. 

“The special audit unit will also make use of new audit laws effective from January 2014 with whistle blowing clauses facilitating the voluntary reporting of fraud and irregularities with legal protection and without repercussions." 

“The special audit unit will also set up a Samoa C.F.E. forum or chapter to network and seek resources and expertise from A.C.F.E. when required. The audit office C.F.E's have received C.F.E. training and qualification and now need the professional experience to translate theory into practice,” stated the report.

As part of the unit’s capacity building program, staff will receive C.F.E. training and be able to network and seek resources and expertise from the A.C.F.E. when required.

“The Audit Office C.F.E. have received C.F.E. training and qualification and now need the professional experience to translate theory into practice." 

“The special audit approach in the order of execution will be: risk assessment/profiling activities; awareness activities; education activities; prevention and deterrence activities; detection and identification activities and investigation activities." 

“Furthermore the special unit will provide assistance to prosecution of detected and investigated cases of fraud, abuse and corruption,” stated the report.

The Audit Office believes that the success in the update of financial statements, audits and annual reports to parliament – due largely to the cooperation and assistance from Ministries, Public Bodies, Constitutional and Parliamentary Offices and other Offices of the State – will be applied again in rolling out its C.F.E. reforms.” 

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