Disclosure Of Impropriety In Light Of The Whistleblowers Act, 2006 (Act 720)

Disclosure Of Impropriety In Light Of The Whistleblowers Act, 2006 (Act 720)


Imagine a scenario where a diligent employee working for a government agency in Ghana uncovers evidence of widespread corruption among high-ranking officials. Faced with a moral dilemma, the employee is torn between staying silent to avoid personal risks or stepping forward to expose the wrongdoing for the greater good. This scenario highlights the critical role of the Whistleblowers Act, 2006 (Act 720) in Ghana, which serves as a crucial legal framework for individuals navigating such ethical challenges.

In the pursuit of justice and the preservation of ethical standards within society, the Whistleblowers Act, 2006 (Act 720) in Ghana stands as a pivotal legal instrument. This Act provides a framework for individuals to disclose instances of impropriety, safeguarding them from potential repercussions while ensuring thorough investigation and appropriate action. Understanding the provisions of this Act is crucial for those seeking to report misconduct or unlawful activities.

This blog post delves into the provisions of the Whistleblowers Act, and explores its key components including protections offered to whistleblowers, reporting procedures, investigative processes, and the significance of this legislation in upholding transparency, accountability, and ethical standards within Ghanaian society.


The Essence of the Whistleblowers Act

At the core of the Whistleblowers Act lies the recognition of individuals who, out of a sense of duty or moral obligation, come forward to expose wrongdoing. The Act not only acknowledges but also encourages such individuals by providing a legal framework that protects them from potential retaliation or victimization.

One of the key aspects addressed by the Act is the delineation of various forms of impropriety that warrant disclosure. These can range from economic crimes such as embezzlement, fraud, and corruption to breaches of law, including regulatory violations and illegal practices within organizations. Moreover, the Act extends its scope to encompass broader societal concerns such as environmental degradation, threats to public health and safety, and instances of discrimination or harassment.[1]

Whistleblowers are protected by law when they make disclosures under specific conditions outlined in the Act. These conditions include disclosure in good faith, having reasonable cause to believe the disclosed information and allegations are substantially true, and the disclosure to specified persons or institutions as per the Act.[2]


The Procedure for Making Disclosures

A person eligible to disclose impropriety includes employees reporting on employers, fellow employees, or other individuals or institutions.[3] The disclosure can be made to various entities such as the employer, police, Attorney-General, Auditor-General, Intelligence Agencies staff, members of Parliament, among others.[4] The decision on whom to disclose to may involve considerations such as potential repercussions for the whistleblower, the seriousness of the impropriety, the likelihood of evidence concealment, the local circumstances, and the residence and prevailing circumstances under which the whistleblower lives.[5]

A disclosure of impropriety can be made orally or in writing, providing specific details such as the whistleblower’s full name; address; occupation; nature of the impropriety; alleged individuals involved; time and place of occurrence; witness information, prior disclosures, and current employment status if applicable.[6] If made orally, the disclosure must be written down with the whistleblower’s approval, especially for illiterate or disabled whistleblowers, ensuring comprehension and consent.[7]

Upon receiving a disclosure, the recipient must record the time and place, provide a written acknowledgment to the whistleblower, keep the disclosure confidential, and investigate the impropriety promptly.[8] If the recipient is unable to investigate, they must refer the case to the Attorney-General or another appropriate body within seven working days.[9] Failure to keep the disclosure confidential is an offence punishable by fine or imprisonment.[10]

Upon receipt of a written disclosure, the Attorney-General must  conduct promptly and thoroughly, with a focus on preserving evidence and protecting witnesses.[11]

Any deliberate suppression of evidence during an investigation is a punishable offence.[12] In cases where evidence or witnesses are at risk, the investigator can seek court orders for preservation or protection.[13]

After completing the investigation, a report detailing the investigation process, information sources, findings, obstacles faced, and recommendations must be submitted to the Attorney-General.[14] The Attorney-General can accept, request further investigations, or reject the report based on stated reasons communicated to the investigator.[15]

These procedures ensure transparency, accountability, and appropriate actions regarding disclosed improprieties.


Protection for Whistleblowers

Whistleblowers are safeguarded against victimization from their employers, colleagues, or others as a result of disclosing information, protecting them from actions like dismissal, suspension, harassment, or discrimination.[16] In the event a whistleblower experiences victimization, they have the option to report it to the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice, providing specific details of the incident.[17] The Commission will then investigate the matter and may issue orders for reinstatement or other appropriate remedies, such as the grant of a reward from the Whistleblower Reward Fund.[18]

During this process, whistleblowers have the right to seek legal assistance, and they can also request police protection for reason of fear of safety due to the disclosure.[19] Moreover, whistleblowers are shielded from facing civil or criminal actions unless it can be proven that they deliberately made false disclosures with malicious intent. Employment contracts that try to prevent or discourage whistleblowing are nullified under the Act.[20]

Additionally, the establishment of the Whistleblower Reward Fund aims to provide monetary rewards to whistleblowers whose disclosures lead to significant outcomes such as arrests, convictions, or monetary recoveries.[21]



The Whistleblowers Act serves as a vital mechanism for promoting transparency, accountability, and integrity within society. By providing avenues for reporting impropriety and protecting whistleblowers from reprisals, this legislation reinforces ethical standards and fosters a culture of responsibility. It is incumbent upon individuals to familiarize themselves with the provisions of the Act and utilize its mechanisms to uphold the principles of justice and fairness in Ghanaian society. Through collective efforts and adherence to legal frameworks, we can combat corruption, safeguard public interests, and ensure a just and equitable society for all.

Author: Ernest Kofi Boateng


[1] The Whistleblowers Act, 2006 (Act 720), Section 1.

[2] ibid, section 1(4).

[3] ibid, section 2.

[4] ibid, section 3(1).

[5] ibid, section 3(2).

[6] ibid, section 4.

[7] ibid, section 5.

[8] ibid, section 6.

[9] ibid.

[10] ibid.

[11] ibid, section 7.

[12] ibid, section 8.

[13] ibid, section 9.

[14] ibid, section 10.

[15] ibid, section 11.

[16] ibid, section 12.

[17] ibid, section 13.

[18] ibid, section 14.

[19] ibid, sections 16 & 17.

[20] ibid, section 18.

[21] ibid, sections 20-24.