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first_imgAbout 60 individuals from several West African countries, along with experts from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Vienna, United States and ECOWAS are discussing the creation of legislations to protect whistleblowers and witnesses in the fight against corruption.Also at the three-day (Sept. 19-21) seminar being held in Monrovia are experts from the Network of Anti-Corruption Agencies in West Africa (NACIWA), commissioners of police, heads of national anti-corruption institutions, civil-society, among others.Speaking on the theme, “The Protection of Whistleblowers and Witnesses in the Fight against Corruption in West Africa” yesterday,” Justice Minister Frederick Cherue told the gathering on the opening day that corruption poses a serious danger to the legitimacy of any government; therefore, there is a need to establish checkpoints for the creation of mechanisms to arrest its spread.“I believe this workshop is one of those efforts of our leaders in our regional community, ECOWAS, to tackle corruption and minimize, if not eradicate, it,” Cllr. Cherue said, adding that “there are triggers, including the establishment of integrity institutions and placing people with impeccable characters to man them.”Cllr. Cherue told the gathering that the global community is concerned with providing protection for whistleblowers and witnesses in the fight against corruption because corruption information is important, but people are reluctant to provide it for fear of reprisal.“This is why it is necessary to put in place protection mechanism for those who may provide information against corruption,” he stated.Cllr. Cherue said the theme of the workshop indicates that West African leaders are working to find a way to put an end to the madness of corruption and establish policies, regulations and mechanisms to protect those who would inform on perpetrators of corruption.In his welcome address, the executive chairperson of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission, Cllr. James Nyepan Verdier, said “Our sub-region is plagued with multiple but similar experiences relating to weak or non-existent legislation to programs devoted to protecting citizens who expose acts of corruption and those willing to provide credible testimonies for successful convictions.”The current state of affairs in Liberia, Cllr. Verdier said, “does not promote the fight to minimize corruption but provides a continuous avenue for the pillaging of public funds and perpetuating impunity.”He made references to two situations when the LACC acted swiftly to protect a key witness and a whistleblower whose lives were threatened.Cllr. Verdier said the deliberations aim to raise awareness about policies and systems to protect people who become whistleblowers and witnesses, as well as arriving at practical actions for ECOWAS member states to protect them.Earlier, the head of Good Governance and Democracy at ECOWAS, Mr. Eyesan Okorodudu, said the workshop is twofold: creating awareness and the need to protect whistleblowers and witnesses.Okorodudu said being aware of the challenges facing whistleblowers and witnesses, the ECOWAS Commission has set up two key platforms, NACIWA and ECOWAS Civil-Society Organization Platform on Transparency and Accountability in Governance (ECSOPTAG), to act as vehicles for promoting and upholding the trinity of values of accountability, transparency and integrity in the management of socioeconomic and political affairs of the states.The workshop ends tomorrow, Wednesday with action plans that are tailored to Liberia’s situation to encourage legislation in the fight against corruption and those who take pleasure in it.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

first_imgOTTAWA – A senior official from Canada’s cyberspy agency says proposed new powers would allow it to stop a terrorist’s mobile phone from detonating a car bomb, block the ability of extremists to communicate, or prevent a foreign power from interfering in the country’s democratic process.A Liberal bill would help the Communications Security Establishment counter various forms of cyberaggression and violent extremism, Shelly Bruce, associate chief of the CSE, told a House of Commons committee studying the legislation.A December report by leading Canadian cybersecurity researchers said there is no clear rationale for expanding the CSE’s mandate to conduct offensive operations.It said the scope of the planned authority is not clear, nor does the legislation require that the target of the CSE’s intervention pose some kind of meaningful threat to Canada’s security interests.Bruce stressed the proposed legislation contains safeguards that would prohibit the agency from directing active cyberoperations at Canadians. It would also forbid the CSE from causing death or bodily harm, or wilfully obstructing justice or democracy.The Ottawa-based CSE intercepts and analyzes foreign communications for intelligence of interest to the federal government. It is a member of the Five Eyes intelligence alliance that also includes the United States, Britain, Australia and New Zealand.The Liberal bill provides a statutory mandate for the highly secretive agency, which traces its roots to 1946, while giving it new muscle to conduct both defensive and offensive cyberoperations.The powers would help keep Canadians safe against global threats, including cyberthreats, in a rapidly evolving technological world, Bruce said during the committee meeting.She provided some concrete examples of how the CSE might use its new offensive capabilities — with input from other federal officials as well as accountability measures in the new law to prevent abuse.“Active cyberoperations are meant to achieve an objective that the government has established and that’s a team sport,” she cautioned.Bruce said a cyberoperation could be aimed at interrupting communications of an extremist group like the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant “in a way that would stop attack planning before things reach a crisis pitch.”An effort might involve preventing the spread of ransomware — software that holds people’s valuable data hostage in return for payment, she said.Or the CSE could try to corrupt data on systems abroad that had been stolen from Canadian servers, rendering it useless to the thieves.Bruce tried to allay concerns about how the CSE would use publicly available information under the new legislation and what effect this might have on the privacy of Canadians.CSE would carry out “basic research” from the sort of public resources available to anyone in Canada, Bruce said.“CSE does not, and would not use publicly available information to investigate Canadians or persons in Canada, or build dossiers on them,” she said.“That is not our mandate, and for us, mandate matters.”The cyberspy agency would use publicly available materials to provide general background information for a foreign intelligence or cybersecurity report, to assess the nationality of a person or organization, or to consult technical manuals, Bruce said.Under no circumstances would the agency use this provision to acquire information — such as hacked or stolen data — that was unlawfully obtained, she added.— Follow @JimBronskill on Twitterlast_img read more