The cash will come as part of a reward structure to encourage whistleblowing in the territory, where persons will be compensated via the percentage, or through monies made available from a Fund.
The bill received its Introduction and First Reading at the Sixth Sitting of the Third Session of the Fourth House of Assembly (HoA) at the Save the Seed Energy Centre in Duff's Bottom, Tortola on March 4, 2021.
Sponsor of the bill, Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) said the Whistleblowers Act “allows any public officer or even in the private [sector] to be able to report it and not be penalised by the employer.
"As a matter of fact, there is a reward for the person if the information that they have brought to the officials is of worth..."
Part V, Section 23 of the bill, states: “The moneys for the Fund shall consist of (a) voluntary contributions to the Fund; and (b) other moneys that may be allocated by the House of Protection against civil and criminal action."
Section 25 of the bill states: “A whistleblower who makes a disclosure that leads to the arrest and conviction of an accused person shall be rewarded with money from the Fund.”
Where a disclosure results in the recovery of an amount of money, the whistleblower will either receive 10% of the money recovered or an amount of money that the Governor, after consultation with Cabinet, shall determine.
According to the bill, the disbursement of Funds shall be determined by the Minister with the approval of Cabinet and the Accountant General shall within thirty days on receipt of the submission of a claim for payment out of the Fund, approve "(a) payment of a reward from the Fund; (b) the reimbursement of expenses incurred by a whistleblower whose disclosure resulted in an investigation for which that person incurred those expenses..."
The act states that monies to be paid for a claim, subject to conditions, shall be paid within a period of not more than three months from the date the payment of the money is approved, as signed by a minister.
The Bill seeks to provide for the manner in which individuals may in the public interest disclose information that relates to unlawful or other illegal conduct or corrupt practices of others; to provide for the protection against victimisation of persons who make these disclosures; to provide for a Fund to reward individuals who make the disclosures and to provide for related matters.
Whistleblowing legislation is a campaign promise of the Virgin Islands Party (VIP) Administration.
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