One might think that with the introduction of several whistle-blower programs and the hefty rewards attached to it, there must have been great improvement in the corruption index of our country, or at least a little.
We have had KPK provincial government announcing one, even FBR had a whistle-blower program.
Surprisingly, all these programs aren’t helping the elimination of corruption in the country at all.
Whistle-blower Programs in Pakistan
Under the ‘Competition (Reward payment to informant) Regulation, 2014’, anyone exposing information regarding companies’ involvement in prohibited activities i.e price cartel and anti-competition activities will get a reward that could range from Rs. 200,000 to Rs. 20,00,000.
Such information should be regarding the involvement of activities prohibited under Section 4 of the Competition Act, 2010, of which entity’s directors and senior management must be aware of.
How is This Program Doing So Far?
The spokesperson CCP (Competition Commission Pakistan) said, “Informants approach CCP quite frequently. However, rewards have been paid out only in two instances where the informants provided pertinent and material information that assisted the commission in its investigation”. He further said that this program has helped in identifying cartels in two important sectors.
NADRA’s Whistle-Blower Program
Few months ago, NADRA also launched its whistle-blower program, which didn’t go well as the users were greeted by a 404 error page when they tried to log in to submit the complaint.
This year, FBR launched a reward scheme for the general public for reporting tax evasions and corrupt practices of Inland Revenue officials. However, it soon went offline as well.
Despite all the announcements and programs by NAB and provincial government, there has not been a major case that could enlighten the authorities about the loophole present in the system.
Although CCP is taking measures for the protection of identity of the informants who come forward, however, there is always a risk that the whistle-blower, if identified, could face hurdles in their career or maybe even in their life.
Or perhaps, the best course of action according to such people is to look away and maintain their silence.