We are seeing more movement on the payment of whistleblower rewards internationally. Nigeria and Korea have been paying rewards recently and Australia continues to consider stronger retaliation protections and monetary incentives. This is in addition to the Ontario Securities Commission’s implementation of a program to reward tips about securities fraud last year.
Here is a brief overview of the news coming to us from these countries:
Nigeria began offering monetary incentives of up to 5 percent for whistleblowers who report fraud in the public or private sector. According to recent news reports, the program has recovered $177 million in state funds in the first two months.
The government measure is an interim provision while it passes formal legislation on the matter. The goal was to assist the government in rooting out corruption. The Minister of Information and Culture in Nigeria told the press that this was just the tip of the iceberg.
South Korea law has authorized rewards to antitrust whistleblowers for over a decade. The KFTC reported in January that the government paid out approximately $735,000 (USD) to whistleblowers. For the past two years, Korea has paid out the entire amount it budgeted to whistleblowers.
Nevertheless, Korea continues to struggle with the protection of whistleblowers. A survey by the Horuragi Foundation of 42 whistleblowers found that 60 percent were fired after whistleblowing, according to the New York Times.
Australia has been considering monetary incentives and retaliation protections for some time. The media recently reported about submissions by several organizations to the government in favor of changes to the government’s handling of whistleblowers. While Australia may ultimately take a conservative approach similar to Britain, the extensive debate in the country over possible rewards suggests that the Australian government is giving it serious consideration.