War on graft: Nothing wrong in rewarding whistleblowers

I’m stunned that our honourable MPs call into question the move to reward whistle-blowers. The MPs claim rewarding whistle-blowers calls into question Rwanda’s integrity. Such sentiments are not always appropriate in these matters.
Members of Parliament in a voting exercise during a previous session. The legislators on Monday passed, in principle, a draft amendment to the law on the protection of whistleblowers, with 14 lawmakers abstaining while two voted against the Bill. The bone of contention was the idea to reward whistleblowers. / File
Members of Parliament in a voting exercise during a previous session. The legislators on Monday passed, in principle, a draft amendment to the law on the protection of whistleblowers, with 14 lawmakers abstaining while two voted against the Bill. The bone of contention was the idea to reward whistleblowers. / File

Editor,

RE: “MPs query essence of reward for whistleblowers as spelt in new Bill” (The New Times, June 7).

 

I’m stunned that our honourable MPs call into question the move to reward whistle-blowers. The MPs claim rewarding whistle-blowers calls into question Rwanda’s integrity. Such sentiments are not always appropriate in these matters.

 

Is there not already a reward system in place for people who provide information leading to the apprehension of fugitive Genocide perpetrators and other major criminals? Or is this reward too a bone of contention for Parliament?

 

Is reporting Genocide fugitives not also a civic obligation? So then shall we now scrap the rewards for this as well?

Corruption is what calls Rwanda’s integrity into question, not whistle-blowing against corruption, as claimed by some MPs. In 2017, we, as a nation, should endeavour to finally retire this sweep-it-under-the-rug-and-forget-about-it mentality.

Fraud and corruption are very serious crimes, they destroy societies and bring economies to their knees. Just look at Nigeria.

Africa’s largest oil producer, but thanks to deeply entrenched systemic corruption, the people of Nigeria have nothing at all to show for these riches.

Let us be very careful with this topic.

As someone who grew up in Nigeria, I know very well what full blown and ubiquitous corruption looks like. It is a deadly disease, and it is not one that you just wake up with one day in its final stage.

Corruption starts small, and looks harmless. But when left unchecked, the vice spreads wide, and it spreads deep. You will eventually get to a stage where whistle-blowers become pointless, because already corruption has spread throughout the entire system.

Dear honourable MPs, is that what we want for Rwanda?

Rewarding whistle-blowers is an extremely important and effective tool in combating fraud and corruption. It is difficult to reconcile an intention to fight fraud and corruption, with a resistance to rewarding those who make that fight possible in the first place.

Blowing the whistle is a very difficult, often dangerous, and heroic act. Do not take such people for granted by dismissing it as “civic obligation”. Studies show that rewarding whistle-blowers has been the most effective means of tackling corruption and fraud.

I would like to invite our honourable MPs to read these studies and see for themselves. It is the MPs’ civic obligation not to cripple our nation’s efforts at fighting fraud and corruption. And I am fully confident, upon reviewing the information and rethinking their perspective, the honourable MPs will see the immense value and need for rewarding whistle-blowers.

Dayo Ntwari

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