Office protecting whistleblowers finally has its chief

It was established in early 2019 but hasn't been fully functional until now.

Zuzana DlugošováZuzana Dlugošová (Source: TASR)

Zuzana Dlugošová will lead the Office for the Protection of Whistleblowers.

She was elected to the post by 80 of 117 MPs present in the parliament. Another candidate, Martin Rajňák, received eight votes.

Justice Minister Mária Kolíková (Za Ľudí) welcomed the election of the new head of the Office for the Protection of Whistleblowers. She also considers Dlugošová an appropriate person to fill the post.

Related articleSlovakia among five EU member states with highest perceived corruption Read more 

“I’m glad that the parliament elected a new chair for the office,” Kolíková said in a statement, as quoted by the TASR newswire. “It’s very important if we want to rid society of corruption and murky practices.”

Waiting for new head

The main tasks of the Office for the Protection of Whistleblowers are to provide protection to whistleblowers, control whether the law is being observed, and provide expert opinions and advice on the application of the law. It also rewards those who report on unlawful activities.

Although it was established in March 2019, the office has not been fully operational since a chair was not appointed until now.

The parliament failed to pick one despite selecting candidates in two rounds. In the first vote held in June 2019, neither Dlugošová nor Monika Filipová received the necessary majority of the votes from MPs, even though they were approved by both the expert commission and the government.

The second round took place in the second half of 2019, when Dlugošová and Rajňák were approved.

Expectations high

Related articleSlovakia still among most corrupt EU countries Read more 

In her motivation letter, Dlugošová said that cooperation with non-governmental organisations will be important when leading the office, as they are a significant partner who has been working closely with whistleblowers until now and provide important feedback for state institutions, as reported by the SITA newswire.

Her election was welcomed by the Let’s Stop Corruption Foundation, which pointed out that it took nearly 600 days and two selection rounds to find a new chair of the office. This non-governmental organisation was one of the organisations that proposed the establishment of the new office and also worked on the respective legislation.

“The new chair now has six months to build the office,” said Marianna Leontiev, a lawyer collaborating with the NGO, as quoted by SITA. “We hope she’ll succeed and create an independent and effective office that will help the whistleblowers.”

Zuzana Petková, head of the Let’s Stop Corruption Foundation, said that the office can contribute to the fight against corruption in Slovakia.

“We consider raising awareness about the protection of whistleblowers one of the most important tasks,” she said, as quoted by SITA.

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