The Anti-Corruption Agency reminds that the role of whistleblowers is of the utmost importance for revelation of corruption. It is necessary to have adequate institutional reaction so that the citizens would be encouraged to publicly speak about corruption. Coordination between all institutions is necessary, so as to secure more efficient whistleblowers’ protection, efficient investigation and criminal pursuit of corruption act, as well as synchronised action and unified practice.
The case of Tatjana Đakonov, employed in the Council for Workers Health Protection in Novi Sad, unfortunately, once again reminds us how the lack of reaction can cause great personal risk of the whistleblower.
We remind that, after being fired by the director of the Council for Workers Health Protection in Novi Sad, the Anti-Corruption Agency has determined that the director’s procedure towards the whistleblower and adoption of act on the working status – was caused by circumstances in relation to corruption complaint to the Agency and that it was the case of reprisal towards the whistleblower.
Inspectorate for Labour in Novi Sad has brought a decision by which the decision on the termination of the working contract is postponed until the finalisation of the court procedure. Basic Court in Novi Sad has brought a decision which annuls as illegal the decision on the termination of the working contract and has ordered return to work.
Although Tatjana Đakonov, with great effort of institutional system, has managed to obtain her rights with regard to working status – the reaction of public prosecutor system and police that was lacking in this case, is equally important.
Simultaneously, inappropriate actions continued towards the person that has declared corruption.
On January 6, Tatjana Đakonov informed the Agency, that the director had physically assaulted her, in business premises and with regard to the attack Đakonov had sent specilised doctor’s report from the Clinical Centre of Vojvodina, stressing that the main reason for her physical attack was the fact that the authorised bodies in Novi Sad had done nothing for more than three years with regard to criminal charge against the director.
The Agency has no longer the authority to estimate as the reprisal certain actions towards the person that has declared corruption, but it will in future take all necessary steps to protect Tatjana Đakonov and will inform about this case the Minister of Internal Affairs, as well as Minister of Justice and Republic Prosecutor’s Office.
We also remind, that the Agency has previously, along with the protection of Tatjana Đakonov upon corruption complaint, informed Prosecutor’s Office in August 2013, proposing case investigation but until today it was not conducted and is still in the initial phase of information gathering.
Tatjana Đakonov sends a message to citizens that they will not have institutional protection from reprisal and that they would not be motivated to report corruption, since they would be faced with unproportional personal risk, that means not just a job loss, but more than that.