Cyprus Mail

Bills under preparation to protect whistleblowers

outgoing Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou

The government is preparing additional legislation to control political lobbying and afford better protection to whistleblowers, measures that will boost the drive to fight corruption in public life, Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou said on Tuesday.

Speaking at a press conference ahead of International Anti-Corruption Day on December 9, Nicolaou said the government is pressing ahead with formulating its National Anti-Corruption Strategy, which will feature specific actions with specific timetables.

As part of that strategy, an action plan was being promoted with financial and technical assistance from the European Commission’s Structural Reform Support Service.

Nicolaou said a bill has been drafted regulating contacts relating to lobbying, its aim being to increase transparency in decision-making processes.

An awareness campaign on how to deal with suspected corruption would also be rolled out, addressed to the Cypriot public at large.

Meanwhile another bill is pending before parliament, providing for additional safeguards for people reporting acts of corruption, to encourage whistleblowers.

Nicolaou said that in 2018 Cyprus received praise from the Council of Europe’s Group of States Against Corruption (Greco) for adopting all of the latter’s recommendations on enacting measures to criminalise corruption and imposing transparency in political party financing.

At the same time, the government is working on legislation for the establishment and operation of an independent anti-corruption authority, again based on Greco’s recommendations.

The authority would cover matters relating not only to the public sector, but to practices in the private sector as well.

Addressing an audience of college students, Nicolaou said “the youth of today will soon become the citizens of tomorrow, and they will not tolerate the perpetuation of corruption phenomena.”

He also announced a public competition for the design of anti-corruption logo, banner and slogan.

Submission of entries begins on January 15 and the evaluation process will be completed on March 5.

The first prize will be awarded with a cheque for €1,750, and €1,000 to the runners-up.

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