Economy

Whistleblowers to get 10pc of cash recovered

house-SENATECHERARGEI0708GG

Parliament buildings in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

edwinmutai_img

Summary

  • Whistleblowers whose disclosure results in the recovery of money or assets will get 10 percent of the cash or the value of the asset if MPs approve a new Bill.
  • The Whistleblower Protection Bill seeks to establish a fund for payment of monetary rewards for whistleblowers.
  • The Whistleblower Reward Fund will be used to reward individuals whose exposure results in the recovery of illegally acquired wealth.

Whistleblowers whose disclosure results in the recovery of money or assets will get 10 percent of the cash or the value of the asset if MPs approve a new Bill.

The Whistleblower Protection Bill seeks to establish a fund for payment of monetary rewards for whistleblowers.

The Whistleblower Reward Fund will be used to reward individuals whose exposure results in the recovery of illegally acquired wealth.

The proposed Fund is being created at the time the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has increased reward to whistleblowers who expose tax cheats to a maximum of Sh5 million in a bid to tighten the noose on individuals and companies failing to declare taxes.

If the Bill sails through, 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.

“A whistleblower whose disclosure results in the recovery of any amount of money or asset shall be rewarded from the fund-where where the money is recovered, with ten percent of the money recovered,” states the Bill.

The fund, to be administered by the Commission on Administrative Justice (Ombudsman), will also be used to pay whistleblowers “such other amounts of money as the commission may determine.

“Notwithstanding…the Commission may in cases where it is just to do so, grant mon-etary reward to a whistleblower whose disclosure does not fall within sub-section 1(a) or (b),” the Bill states.

The fund to be created under the Bill will consist of taxpayers’ monies appropriated by the National Assembly, grants, donations, or gifts from nongovernmental or non-public sources or income generated by investments by the board of trustees.

The Bill seeks to provide a mechanism for payments of monetary rewards to individu-als or employees who disclose information on improper conduct within the public and private sectors.

The Treasury last June amended the KRA Act through the Finance Bill 2021 that saw whistleblowers paid a maximum of Sh5 million if their report leads to recovery of due taxes.

The KRA Act had capped the reward to Sh2 million or five percent of the recovered tax, whichever is lower.

The reward for persons who provide information leading to the identification of un-assessed taxes was also increased to Sh500,000 from Sh100,000.

According to Treasury secretary Ukur Yatani, the changes to the KRA Act are meant to encourage receipt of voluntary information to KRA thereby bolstering tax compliance and revenue collection.

The KRA operates an anonymous online reporting platform, dubbed iWhistle, providing a whistle-blower framework for reporting tax evasions such as bribery, fraud, conflict of interest, abuse of office, concealment, and diversion of cargo.

Last year, Mr Yatani revealed that some 502 cases had been reported to the channel from the general public since launch.

The Whistleblower Protection Bill proposes stringent penalties for employers who sack, demote, threaten or significantly alter a whistleblower’s terms and conditions of employment contracts.

Employers who punish employers who disclose information on improper conduct or illegal dealings risk a Sh10 million fine or 14 years in jail or to both.