RURAL Electrification Authority (REA) has been fined 10,000 penalty units after being convicted of illegally terminating the employment of three employees who reported suspected corrupt activities at the institution to the Anti-Corruption Commission, says ACC public relations manager Timothy Moono.
Mr Moono said Lusaka Magistrate Boniface Mwiinga found Rural Electrification Authority guilty of unlawful reprisal contrary to section 46 as read with section 18 (c) (iii) of the Public Interest Disclosure (Protection of Whistle-blowers’) Act No. 4 of 2010 of the Laws of Zambia.
“Details of the offence are that the Rural Electrification Authority, on dates unknown but between 1st November 2012 and 30th November 2012 in Lusaka, engaged in unlawful reprisals against three employees by terminating their contracts of employment for having blown the whistle against the then Chief Executive Officer of Rural Electrification Authority, Mr. Wilfred Serenje,” Mr Moono noted.
Meanwhile the officers whose employment was terminated have since taken the matter before the High Court seeking redress.
“In March 2014, the Anti- Corruption Commission instituted legal proceedings against the authority for terminating the employment of the three whistle-blowers in line with the provisions of the Public Interest Disclosure (Protection of Whistle-blowers’) Act No. 4 of 2010,” Mr Moono said.
He said the Commission was pleased with this particular conviction as it was a clear demonstration that the law set up to protect whistle blowers in the fight against corruption and maladministration was indeed in effect.
“This is the first time that the Whistle –blower Protection Act has been used in this manner and has achieved a conviction since it was enacted in 2010,” Mr Moona said.
He said the Commission was committed to the Protection of Whistle-Blowers and has been implementing the administrative provisions of the Act to ensure that whistle-blowers who are victimised on account of reporting suspected cases of corruption and abuse of authority of office to the Commission were protected from negative repercussions and justly treated.
“The Commission wishes to encourage everyone to report any suspected maladministration and criminal activities to law enforcement agencies and relevant authorities as the law will always be on their side,” said Mr Moona