International Whistleblower News

The Human Rights Defenders’ 2015 Whistleblower Award recipient, David Kafulila, recently visited the National Whistleblower Center (NWC) in Washington, DC, with a group of business and government professionals from countries across Africa. NWC Executive Director and whistleblower law expert Stephen Kohn taught participants about whistleblower rights in the U.S., and best practices they could potentially adopt in their home countries—many of which are rampant with government corruption and offer little, if any, protection for whistleblowers.

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The following is a guest blog by Bojan Bajic.*

Sarajevo Whistleblower Week (SWW) 2015, which occurred in the last week of May in Sarajevo was seen in a light of “clash” of two approaches: the first one representing pro-active American approach providing a “incentive based protection” to a whistleblower and the second passive European anti-retaliation whistleblower protection.

A special guest of this SWW event was Mr. Stephen M. Kohn, partner at Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto, LLP and the Executive Director of the National Whistleblower Center from Washington D.C., who gave his lecture on how whistleblowers from around the world can use the U.S. laws to expose corruption: “Breakthrough in Protecting International Whistleblowers: Non-United States Citizens Now Entitled to Whistleblower Protections and Rewards.”  
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On March 20, 2015, NWC Executive Director Stephen M. Kohn participated in a Roundtable of Transparency panel discussion presented as part of the U.S. State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program.

Each year this program brings about 4,500 visitors to the US from 140 countries to learn how to use advocacy as the process of building consensus on national, regional, or local priorities through transparent, accountable, and inclusive decision-making. The goal of this program is to build the capacity of civil society organizations and their constituents to act for change and influence policy. 
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The National Whistleblower Center released a report today recommending the use of whistleblower reward laws to fight corruption worldwide.  “Whistleblower Reward Programs: An International Framework for the Detection of Corruption and Illegal Bribery,” outlines how the use of whistleblower rewards laws is a highly effective tool in detecting fraud and misconduct.

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Sergei Magnitsky
        Sergei Magnitsky

On December 6, 2012 Congress passed the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012. (Magnitsky Act). The law was inspired by a Russian lawyer named Sergei Magnitsky, detained in 2008 after he blew the whistle on a $230 million tax fraud scheme involving the collaboration of Russian government officials and convicted criminals. He was arrested for his whistleblowing and detained for nearly a year before he was beaten to death in prison.

In October 2012, Stephen Kohn, Executive Director of the National Whistleblowers Center, interviewed Jamison Firestone, the law partner and friend of Sergei Magnitsky. Mr. Firestone related the horrific yet compelling tale of what happened from the time Mr. Magnitsky uncovered the tax fraud until his death at the hands of the Russian authorities. Listen to the interview.

The passing of the Magnitsky Act is a major step forward in the protection of international whistleblowers. This is the first time the U. S. Government has passed a bill in recognition of the hardship and sacrifice of international whistleblowers. This move sets important precedence for the advancement of increased protections for whistleblowers throughout the world. In addition to the Magnitsky Act, the U.S. Congress has significantly enhanced protections for international whistleblowers through the reward provisions applicable to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and under the IRS Whistleblower law, which allows foreign nationals to blow the whistle on U.S. tax evaders in other countries.


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[Canada] MacCharles, Tonda, Richard Colvin: Portrait of a whistleblower, theStar.com, November 21, 2009.

Talk to people who know Richard Colvin and a few key traits emerge. Driven, committed to Canada’s mission in Afghanistan. Knows his stuff. Takes copious notes. Sociable, yet discreet. Above all, discreet. Click here to read more.

[Vietnam] Huy, Dam, “Company chief arrested for having whistleblower killed, Thanhnien News.com, November 21, 2009.

Ngo Quang Truong, director of real estate investor Hoang Hai Ltd. in Hoc Mon District, was detained after the police caught four men involved in the murder: Bui Quoc Huy, Tran Van Khoa from the northern Vinh Phuc Province, Vu Van Luan from the northern Hai Phong City and Ngo Chi Huan from the Mekong Delta’s Hau Giang Province. Click here to read more.


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[UK] Develin, Kate, “NHS whistleblower ‘sacked for revealing dumped x-ray scans’,” Telegraph.co.uk, November 14, 2009.

Dr Otto Chan, a consultant radiologist, believes that he was labelled a troublemaker after the revelations about the Royal London. He claims that hospital bosses decided to get rid of him and that his dismissal has left him unable to get another job in the health service. He is suing the hospital for loss of earnings, future earnings and pension.Click here to read more.

[Philippines] “Why charge the whistleblowers?,” The Manila Times.net, November 13, 2009. 

We agree with the senators and others who have criticized the Senate joint three-committees’ report on the ZTE scandal for including the two main whistleblowers among the persons recommended for prosecution. Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr., Senators Panfilo Lacson, Alan Peter Cayetano, and Francis Escudero were right to warn that prosecuting Messrs.


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[Russia] Humphries, Conor, “Russia fires police YouTube whistleblower,” Reuters, November 8, 2009.

A junior Russian policeman was fired on Sunday after making a YouTube appeal to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin accusing senior officers of corruption, a claim dismissed by authorities as false, news agencies reported. The policeman from the Black Sea port of Novorossiisk last week posted a seven-minute clip that accused senior officers of forcing him to work weekends and solve imaginary crimes, as well as blocking him from claiming compensation for an injury. Click here to read more.

[Iran] Arrests of journalists since disputed June election now top 100, Without Borders for Press Freedom, November 5, 2009.

Reporters Without Borders welcomes the release of Agence France-Presse correspondent Farhad Pouladi, who was arrested on 4 November. The official news agency IRNA and AFP’s Tehran bureau confirm that he was freed from Evin prison yesterday afternoon. But Niels Krogsgaard, a Danish journalism student who was arrested the same day, is still being held, the Iranian authorities say.


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