Whistleblowing – legal situation in Cyprus

by Stavros Stavrou, Advocate

A whistleblower is a person who exposes a wrongdoing, misconduct, alleged dishonest or illegal activity occurring in an organisation, whether in the public or private sector. It is notable that there is no national legislation to protect such witness in Cyprus as the concept of ‘whistleblowing’ is relatively new and it only emerged to the surface recently but mostly in respect to public or semi-governmental organisations. In 2011 a new non-governmental organization was founded named ‘Transparency International-The Global Coalition Against Corruption Cyprus’, which since its foundation aims with its proposals and work to help the citizens of the Republic of Cyprus to realise and understand how important the institution of whistleblowing is.

Since 2010 Cyprus had serious financial problems which resulted to the well-known deposit ‘haircut’ in March 2013. Since then the Law Office of the Republic of Cyprus makes serious endeavours to bring to justice all those responsible for the economic collapse of the state. It is a fact that the last few years Cypriot citizens demand more transparency; an indication that their mindset about the fight against corruption has changed significantly. At present there are many on-going cases regarding corruption and bribery in the public sector and according to recent statements by the Cypriot Minister of Justice and Public Order, there is a possibility of adopting a legislation that will protect ‘whistleblowers’ since such witness will be a valuable gun for justice.

On 30th of April 2014 the Committee of Ministers to Member States adopted Recommendation CM/Rec(2014)7 which recommends that member States have in place a normative, institutional and judicial framework to protect individuals who, in the context of their work-based relationship, report or disclose information on threats or harm to the public interest. In regard to this, the Committee set out some guiding principles which may help States when reviewing their national laws for necessary amendments or when introducing legislation and regulations to the matter.

People’s change of attitude, the EU and all the economic drama will definitely result in Cyprus introducing relevant legislation which will hopefully result in more transparent society.

Cyprus Soteriou