The world suffers a lot not because of the violence of bad people but because of the silence of good people”, Napoleon Bonaparte. Most people witness different forms of wrongdoing within the corporate environment but often remain silent, indifferent or conclude that nothing can be done to stop the problem.
Foreign regulations like the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) requires publicly traded firms to provide anonymous whistleblowing channels to employees. However, that is not the case in Ghana. The Whistle-blower Act 720, Act 2006 of Ghana does not make it mandatory for public interest entities such as financial institutions to provide a whistleblowing hotline for stakeholders. Nonetheless, it does provide some protection for people who blow the whistle. Despite the protection it offers, most people do not blow the whistle.1
The reasons people do not blow the whistle according to the study “Why People Refuse to Blow the Whistle in Ghana”2 are fear of harm towards whistle-blowers, dismissal, suspension, transfer against will, intimidation, harassment and spiritual attack.
According to a recent study3 (2018), by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), the most common detection method for fraud are reports from whistle-blowers. Whistle-blower reports accounted for 40% of all detection methods for fraud in organisations. The role a whistleblowing hotline plays in fraud risk management cannot therefore be overlooked and organisations risk losing funds if employees are not empowered to blow the whistle on wrongdoing.
KPMG undertook this study to understand how organisations use whistleblowing facilities, and how management and staff perceive this valuable tool for improvement in governance, transparency and accountability. The survey also inquired from respondents on reasons for not blowing the whistle or exposing misconduct.
The survey was conducted in the latter part of the year 2019. Respondents from various sectors and industries in Ghana completed a detailed questionnaire based on the whistleblowing culture and policies in their respective organisations. This study is intended to help organisations understand the whistleblowing culture in Ghana and why most employees do not blow the whistle. Institutions and society at large have a unique opportunity to reflect and leverage on the outcome of this survey to improve their governance and control systems.
© 2020 KPMG, a Ghanaian registered partnership and a member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative, a Swiss entity. All rights reserved.
KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. Member firms of the KPMG network of independent firms are affiliated with KPMG International. KPMG International provides no client services. No member firm has any authority to obligate or bind KPMG International or any other member firm third parties, nor does KPMG International have any such authority to obligate or bind any member firm. All rights reserved.