Transparency International Kenya strongly condemns the arrest of blogger Abraham Mutai on Saturday, 17th January, 2014, and the temporary suspension of his Twitter account and closure of his blogs.
Mr. Mutai and other bloggers in Kenya have played an important role in highlighting corruption incidents at the national and county levels in the recent past. Over the last two months, Mr. Mutai has published information, backed by documentary evidence, of corruption in a public agency and some county governments. We expect the relevant authorities to act on such information by conducting further investigations on the alleged corruption incidents, rather than oppress whistleblowers.
One of the biggest challenges in preventing and fighting corruption lies in detecting and exposing bribery, fraud, theft of public funds and other acts of wrongdoing. Whistleblowing is one of the most effective ways of detecting fraud and wrongdoing and facilitating measures to minimise or to prevent further losses. An effective whistleblower management and protection system begins and ends with strong policies that clearly and emphatically send a two-fold message that: the Government embraces good faith whistleblowing; and the whistleblower will suffer no adverse repercussions as a result of bringing an issue to the attention of those in authority or the public. Unfortunately, whistleblowers commonly face retaliation in the form of harassment, dismissal from employment, blacklisting, threats and even physical violence, and their disclosures are routinely ignored.
Transparency International Kenya and other civil society organisations in Kenya have been advocating for a whistleblower protection policy and law. A good whistleblower protection policy and law will go a long way in protecting people like Mr. Mutai, who come forth with reports of corruption. TI-Kenya is working with the Department of Justice to develop a Whistleblower Protection law and will continue to support this process.
We call upon the Office of the Attorney General, under which the Department of Justice falls, to expedite the process of getting this policy and law tabled and passed by Parliament, and enacted into law. TI-Kenya also calls on Mr. Mutai to pursue the highlighted corruption cases with the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission so that full investigations can be conducted and culprits brought to book.
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