The National Agency for Corruption Prevention (Національне агентство з питань запобіганнякорупції) will be responsible for administering the Portal and defining its operational arrangements.
The Portal will be used to systematise information about facts concerning corruption crimes or corruption-related offences coming through internal, external and regular channels also when whistleblowers submit tips either on paper or electronically and disclose information about violations during in-person interviews. Besides reports about facts concerning corruption, the Portal will contain information about whistleblowers who submitted those reports, status of their processing and adopted response measures. It is intended that after the bill is approved whistleblowers will be able to submit reports about corruption, including anonymous ones, through the open 24 hours a day Portal or special hotlines whose information will be aggregated on the Portal.
At the same time, whistleblowers will still be able to use:
- internal reporting channels established within the body/organisation where the whistleblower holds a post;
- external reporting channels – through the media, journalists, associations, trade unions;
- regular reporting channels – reporting to the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (Національне антикорупційне бюро України), law enforcement bodies or other public structures competent in examining and deciding on the issues related to the disclosed information.
These data will be put on the Portal by authorised officers not later than the following working day after they are received.
Before making a tip the whistleblower should make sure that it contains actual data proving the commission of a corruption crime or a corruption-related offence and verifiable by authorised officers, along with the explanation of how it came to his/her knowledge.
The bill also clarifies the procedure for processing reports received through internal and external channels: in particular, such reports are subject to preliminary consideration by authorised officer within a period not exceeding ten working days.
In the outcome of the preliminary consideration of the report one of the following decisions can be made:
- the report is not in line with established requirements – in this case it is subject to consideration in accordance with the legally established procedure for appeals by citizens;
- the report is not within the remit of the body or organisation that received it – in this case the processing of the report by the indicated body/organisation is interrupted and the body or organisation competent in considering and investigating the facts stated in the report is simultaneously informed accordingly;
- the information contained in the report regards an authorised individual of the body or organisation that received the report – then the report is processed in line with the procedure defined by the head of the respective body or organisation;
- the information provided in the report regards the head of the body or organisation that received it – this report is forwarded within three days to the person authorised to examine or investigate the facts stated in the report;
- the information provided in the report is confirmed – in this case the individuals that have committed the respective offence are subject to disciplinary liability;
- there are signs of a corruption or corruption-related crime – in such a case the materials are forwarded to an anti-corruption body or the State Bureau of Investigations.
The information about preliminary consideration and disciplinary proceedings (in the event that the respective decision is taken) is sent to the whistleblower within three days after they are completed.
In addition to the clarification of the procedure for submitting and examining reports on corruption offences, the bill modifies the provisions concerning the rewarding of whistleblowers. It should be reminded that in accordance with the Ukrainian legislation the individual reporting a corruption crime, whose subject or the damage caused to the State equals or exceeds 5,000 living wages in the monetary value, can count on a reward of 10% of the respective sum of money. The bill clarifies that the whistleblower is entitled to receive the reward not only after the conviction by the court, but also after the money, valuables and other property or the sum of money corresponding to the value of such property are accrued to the State.
The bill was approved by the Verkhovna Rada (Parliament) in the second reading on 4 February 2021 and sent to the President for signature, but it was sent back for refinement on March 3. As the head of the State pointed out, the text of the bill did not define the objectives of gathering and processing personal data of whistleblowers, as well as the amount of data about them that would be archived on the Portal. Besides, in spite of the fact that the bill provides for the confidentiality of data of whistleblowers, it does not define the procedure for protecting the confidentiality of submitted data, in particular, the situations, grounds and list of persons that may get access to relevant data are not determined.