(Dakar, June 14, 2021). Sued by his former employee for defamation and spreading false information, whistleblower Ravo Ramasomanana must be protected by Malagasy judicial authorities, said the Platform to Protect Whistleblowers in Africa (PPLAAF). The organization urges the authorities to conduct an investigation to shed light on the actions of the Ministry of Public Health.
“Whistleblowers are the promoters of the rule of law and the defenders of the interest of the public and the population”, said Fadel Barro from PPLAAF. “As such, they must be protected and not prosecuted for the facts that they had the courage to reveal.”
Ravo Ramasomanana is a former employee of the Malagasy Ministry of Public Health Procurement Service. He is said to have witnessed irregularities linked to the award of the public contract for the construction of the renal transplant centre of Andohatapenara University Hospital launched in 2019. Last month, he decided to reveal the facts in a video published on YouTube and filed a complaint with the Madagascar anti-corruption Pole.
According to an investigative network report by MALINA supported by Transparency International Madagascar, a call for tenders was launched on October 30, 2019 for the construction of the centre. A deadline for the submission of tenders was set for November 11, 2019 at 10:30am. But no submission was received during the call for tenders.
The whistleblower says however, that he noticed the appearance of minutes on the opening of the Commission’s call for tenders, after the deadline. These minutes, whose authenticity does not seem certain, clearly shows the General Agency SARL as the only candidate to have submitted their application on time. The contract would then be awarded to them for 739 million Ariary (nearly 161,000 euros).
It seems this company does not specialize in the construction of buildings but in cleaning. However, article 20 of Law No. 2016-055 relating to the Public Procurement Code clearly states that: “Any candidate for a public contract must demonstrate that he has the legal, technical and financial capacity and the experience necessary to execute the services subject to the contract.”
Like many whistleblowers, Ramasomanana faces reprisals for his courage and finds himself being sued by his employer for defamation and for spreading false information.
Whistleblowers reveal information concerning activities they have witnessed, particularly in the context of their work, which are illegal, unlawful and/or against the general interest of the public. They are regularly threatened or sued by the persons or organizations which their disclosures regard.
The problem of corruption in the land sector in Madagascar is not new. It was previously highlighted in a 2017 report by Transparency International Madagascar. In the same year, the president of the National Contracts Commission, Rindra Rabarinirinarison, also claimed that nearly 53% of procedures for awarded contracts were non-compliant.
“The time has come for Madagascar to recognize the importance of being transparent with its population and the interest of the general public. Corruption and embezzlement of resources for personal gain must stop.” Henri Thulliez, Director of PPLAAF
The Platform to Protect Whistleblowers in Africa (PPLAAF) is a non-governmental organization created in March 2017 by a group of lawyers, activists and investigative journalists.
PPLAAF aims to protect whistleblowers by serving as their advocates and initiating strategic litigation that may result from disclosures made by whistleblowers in the general interest of Africans.
To follow PPLAAF: