On Tuesday, 29 September, Gagnsæi – Association of anti-corruption advocates in Iceland in collaboration with the Institute of Public Administration and Politics will host an open seminar with Paul Stephenson from 4:30 – 5:30 pm. at the National Museum of Iceland.
A Q&A will follow the lecture, moderated by Þórunn Elísabet Bogadóttir, assistant editor at Kjarninn.
Paul Stephenson had a UK civil service career mainly devoted to criminal policy issues, both in Scotland and in England. He was for several years head of the corruption and fraud law team in the Ministry of Justice in London. In that capacity he was head of the UK delegation to GRECO, the Council of Europe’s anti-corruption body, to which Iceland also belongs. Since his retirement in 2009 he has specialized in whistleblowing, since the UK’s law on that is [he says] the best contribution the UK has to offer to international anti-corruption.
Gagnsæi, Association of anti-corruption advocates in Iceland, is a newly established non-governmental organization founded in late 2014. Its mission is to actively raise awareness in Iceland about corruption, to inform and educate about measures to fight against corruption in the public as well as the private sector, and to encourage public debate based on a better understanding about corruption, corruptive behaviour and corrupt incentives in politics, public administration and in business. The organization aims to establish in Iceland a national chapter of Transparency International.
Corruption in the business world as well as in the public sphere is like a closed circuit and is notoriously difficult to spot; it often remains undetected until long after its harm is done. Inspection agents frequently lack the business acumen, financial literacy and knowledge of corruption necessary to discern the warning signs.
Whistleblowers within businesses and public organizations play an important role in informing the public and official inspectors about actions that go against the public interest. Many states have already reformed laws to protect whistleblowers or are working towards that end, in order to encourage individuals to come forward with such information, for if an individual who does so faces retaliation, risking punishment or job loss, this has cooling effect on the flow of information. A bill to ensure the protection of whistleblowers in Iceland has repeatedly been introduced in the Icelandic parliament, but to no avail, notwithstanding serious concerns raised by GRECO, The Council of Europe‘s Group of States against Corruption.
This event, which is free and open to the public, will be conducted in English.