10. Focusing on investigations and protecting whistleblowers
Summary of recommendations
Investigate reports of wrongdoing. Create safe reporting channels and protect whistleblowers.
Introduction to key mitigation
Investigations into corruption and fraud not only help recover financial and material resources diverted; they also show that integrity standards matter and will be upheld. In the long run, this empowers whistleblowers and provides support to change agents.
“One of the most challenging aspects of the job is convincing complainants that the World Bank wants its projects to succeed. The first thing most people say to me is, ‘We didn’t think the World Bank actually cares.’ … we are speaking to people who are aggrieved, … and they think we are part of the problem… We might take it for granted that if we complain, someone listens, but many people don’t feel empowered that way. I’ve dealt with complainants who were risking their lives to speak to us, and they still did whatever they could to help our investigation.”
A World Bank investigator
Case Study: Afghanistan: Corruption and the making of warlords
Host nation trucking contract: Afghanistan
A US Congressional investigation into extortion along the US military supply chain in Afghanistan concluded that numerous reports of fraud, corruption and extortion submitted by local contractors to US forces were ignored, allowing the corruption schemes to grow.View case study
Encouraging the reporting of misconduct: The World Bank
The World Bank prioritises outreach to groups and individuals who can report misconduct. Between 63% and 73% of complaints which became sources for full investigations in 2015 and 2016 came from external whistleblowers, including bidders, government officials, NGO staff, and individuals with relevant knowledge.View external case study
- Audit units
- Military Police