Monday, August 16, 2010

Fwd: FAIR Monthly Headlines

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From: FAIR (Federal Accountability Initiative for Reform) <>
Date: Mon, Aug 16, 2010 at 7:16 PM
Subject: FAIR Monthly Headlines

   Federal Accountability Initiative for Reform

FAIR Monthly Headlines: July 2010

A list of articles added to the FAIR website last month. These are about whistleblowing, whistleblowers, and government or corporate misconduct exposed by whistleblowers.

Holly Watt, Jon Swaine and Elizabeth Colman – July 30, 2010

More than £7.3 billion a year is being "skimmed off" the value of Britons' savings by City bankers and fund managers, an investigation by The Daily Telegraph has found.

A range of questionable hidden fees and levies are being deducted from investments, making it difficult for a typical saver to make money from the stock market. Britain's eight million investors are losing an average of £800 a year each to the hidden levies.

Nagendar Sharma – July 25, 2010

NEW DELHI — Two Right to Information (RTI) activists in Gujarat and Maharashtra had striking similarities. Both were fighting to expose corruption and both of them were murdered earlier this year despite having alerted the police about their lives were in danger.

Vishram Laxman Dodiya and Satish Shetty are among the eight whistleblowers who have lost their lives in 2010. The latest victim was the 33 year-old RTI activist, Amit Jethwa, shot dead outside the Gujarat High Court, Ahmedabad, on July 20.

Press Trust Of India – July 25, 2010

NEW DELHI — The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) is seeking greater powers to ensure that individuals who expose corruption by government officials and departments are not victimised, hounded or harassed by the bureaucracy. The Commission says it needs "enforcement powers" to protect whistleblowers from harassment.

The CVC is a designated authority to receive complaints and to ensure adequate protection to the whistleblowers under the Public Interest Disclosure and Protection of Informers Resolution (PIDPI).

David Pugliese – July 23, 2010

Stingy federal bureaucrats, including those at Privy Council Office and Treasury Board, are blocking initiatives that could help the country's Afghan war veterans, the Veterans Ombudsman says. Retired colonel Pat Stogran said the motive appeared to be saving money.

"There's huge amounts of pushback from central agencies on anything to do with veterans in any way that might mean more money going out," Stogran said in an interview.

"Deputy ministers make more on average in one year than a person who loses two legs in Afghanistan can expect to be paid out for the rest of their life," Stogran said in his harshest words yet aimed at the federal bureaucracy.

Federal investigation followed conflict of interest complaint against former assistant deputy minister

Daniel Leblanc – July 23, 2010

Ottawa has just recouped more than $300,000 from a major supplier that was recently at the centre of a conflict of interest probe involving a senior bureaucrat.

Public Works Canada launched an audit in the fall of 2008 into the work of the Corporate Research Group after allegations that the department's former assistant deputy minister, Tim McGrath, gave preferential treatment to the company because he was a friend of its president, Brian Card.

The Canadian Press – July 22, 2010

Canada's controversial asbestos industry was hit with a public-relations tsunami Wednesday, following a volley of damning international media reports that probed the use of the disputed building material in developing countries.

The British Broadcasting Corporation — which claims a worldwide audience of 241 million — aired an in-depth series on the asbestos trade as part of a joint investigation.

Officer alleged police infighting sank major Hells Angels investigation

Chad Skelton – July 22, 2010

A fired biker-gang investigator who sued the Organized Crime Agency of B.C. for wrongful dismissal received $2 million in an out-of-court settlement with the B.C. government, ministry records reveal.

Allen Dalstrom was fired by OCABC chief officer David Douglas in 2004 after concerns were raised about Dalstrom's handling of Project Phoenix, a multimillion-dollar investigation of the Hells Angels that was never prosecuted, and over comments Dalstrom allegedly made to a journalist writing a book about the Angels.

Gary Mason – July 21, 2010

The trial of Allen Dalstrom versus the Organized Crime Agency of B.C. had been under way in B.C. Supreme Court for only a few days when lawyers representing both sides approached Madam Justice Catherine Wedge asking for a temporary adjournment.

It was granted. And although no one knew it then, a wrongful-dismissal case that threatened to level serious allegations of misconduct against high-ranking RCMP members would never resume.

Jim Morris and Steve Bradshaw – July 21, 2010

Banned or restricted in more than 50 countries, white asbestos continues to be widely used in China, India, Russia and Brazil, and many developing countries. The BBC's Steve Bradshaw and Jim Morris from the ICIJ report on an industry supported by a global network of lobby groups.

The Jeffrey asbestos mine in Quebec is an astonishing sight. "Big and beautiful," says one of the regular flow of tourists and locals who peer into its depths from a public observation deck.

The PricewaterhouseCoopers 2009 Global Economic Crime Survey includes a measure of the percentage of respondents from various territories who reported suffering some type of fraud. Canada fares very badly in this survey, with 56% of respondents reporting fraud. Only three of the 54 countries surveyed fared worse: Russia (71%), South Africa (62%) and Kenya (57%).

The table below lists the countries with the best and worst results on this measure.

PS labour board says government used dismissal as 'scapegoat' to protect itself

Kathryn May – July 20, 2010

OTTAWA — The Harper government has been ordered to pay nearly $1.4 million in damages and psychological injury for its "sham" dismissal of a high-powered executive recruited to revamp its real estate operations.

In a sweeping ruling, the Public Service Labour Relations Board concluded last week that former Public Works adviser Douglas Tipple's layoff in 2006 was nothing more than a "disguised" termination.

Colum Lynch – July 20, 2010

UNITED NATIONS -- The outgoing chief of a U.N. office charged with combating corruption at the United Nations has issued a stinging rebuke of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, accusing him of undermining her efforts and leading the global institution into an era of decline, according to a confidential end-of-assignment report.

The memo by Inga-Britt Ahlenius, a Swedish auditor who stepped down Friday as undersecretary general of the Office of Internal Oversight Services, represents an extraordinary personal attack on Ban from a senior U.N. official. The memo also marks a challenge to Ban's studiously cultivated image as a champion of accountability.

Rasna Warah – July 18, 2010

I recently met a UN staff member who told me that he had come across incriminating evidence linking a top official with misuse of donor funding. In fact, he suspected that the money had not just been misused, but had been stolen.

I asked him if he could report this to an oversight body within the UN and he told me there would be no point in doing so because he would either be fired or there would be a massive cover-up on the part of the organisation's financial officers, who would find a way of cooking the books to legitimise irregular movement of funds.

July 16, 2010

Washington, D.C. – The Government Accountability Project (GAP) is praising the newly passed Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (HR 4173) today for four cornerstones of strengthened accountability related to whistleblowing.

"Congress has hit a home run for whistleblowers," declared GAP Legal Director Tom Devine. "This reform has teeth, because Congress wisely is protecting frontline witnesses who are critical to enforce it."

Gardiner Harris – July 12, 2010

In the fall of 1999, the drug giant SmithKline Beecham secretly began a study to find out if its diabetes medicine, Avandia, was safer for the heart than a competing pill, Actos, made by Takeda.

Avandia's success was crucial to SmithKline, whose labs were otherwise all but barren of new products. But the study's results, completed that same year, were disastrous. Not only was Avandia no better than Actos, but the study also provided clear signs that it was riskier to the heart.

It is hard to cut waste and excess when people think there are no problems

Sean Bruyea and David Hutton – July 6, 2010

The recent announcement of cash rewards for public servants who suggest improvements in the federal government is naive at best and disingenuous at worst, given the prevailing management culture within Canada's public service.

Canadians have long been soothed by platitudes such as the claim that we have the best federal public service in the world. Unfortunately such hype sidesteps very real and serious government failures and misconduct: the tainted blood scandal, the sponsorship scandal, the billion-dollar gun registry overrun, and the Air India bombing, to mention but a few. Yet this has not stopped the steady flow of feel-good messages fed by the wellspring of Ottawa's more than two dozen federal departments, claiming all is well in our country's administration.

Federal Accountability Initiative for Reform (FAIR) promotes integrity and accountability within government by empowering employees to speak out without fear of reprisal when they encounter wrongdoing. Our aim is to support legislation and management practices that will provide effective protection for whistleblowers and hence occupational free speech in the workplace. FAIR is a registered Canadian charity. | Join us on Facebook

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