Today marks the launch of the Plateforme de Protection des Lanceurs d’Alerte (PPLAAF). PPLAAF is a Senegalese NGO, based in Dakar. The founder of PPLAAF is William Bourdon, president of the French NGO Sherpa which is specialised in fighting economic crimes. William Bourdon is also a leading advocate for whistleblowers and persecuted individuals worldwide including Edward Snowden, Antoine Deltour (LuxLeaks), Hervé Falciani (SwissLeaks) among others.
PPLAAF uniting the best legal experts, NGOs and media from around the continent, is to help ensure that people who choose to do the right thing by stepping forward to protect the common good are not forced to pay with their citizenship, freedom, job, security, income or even their life. The primary aim of PPLAAF is therefore to lower the risks and costs of whistleblowing to the point that they are negligible – for the teacher, the accountant, the soldier, the lawyer and even the minister.
ODAC will be the South African experts providing assistance to the platform. This is because ODAC has for a significant period of our existence focused directly on ensuring that the lived experience of the whistlblower is improved - in a context in which we know whistleblowers are ordinarily persecuted and unprotected. Ensuring that whistleblowers feel safe and support will continue to form a significant part of our mandate as the years go by.
Our association with this platform comes at an important time in our history. With the support of FesMedia Africa, ODAC will be focusing strongly in 2017 on building stronger networks for support of whistleblowers across the African continent. This comes at an important time.The United Nations Economic Council for Africa’s (UNECA) High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows reported in 2015 that Africa lost $50 billion per annum due to illegal financial transactions.One of the most important mechanisms for preventing these kinds of losses can be seen in the establishment of functioning and respected whistleblowing practices to counter such risks. Companies themselves have identified whistleblowing as the most effective tool for fraud detection . In 2016, PricewaterhouseCoopers noted that whistleblowing and tip-offs had been responsible for uncovering 43% of the economic crimes detected.
We look forward to providing effective support to the PPLAAF group, and hope that 2017 can mark the start of a concerted effort to advance whistleblower protections on the continent.
 Ayagre, P & Aidoo-Buameh, J (2014) “Whistleblower reward and systems implementation effects on whistleblowing in organisations” in European Journal of Accounting Auditing and Finance Research, Vol.2, No.1, pp.80-90, at 82.)