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Zambia – Standards – Followup – Investigation

Zambia – Standards – Followup – Investigation

13. (1) An investigating authority may decline to act on a public interest disclosure received by it where the investigating authority considers that-

(a) the disclosure is malicious, frivolous, vexatious or made in bad faith;

(b) the disclosure is misconceived or lacking in substance;

(c) the disclosure is trivial;

(d) there is a more appropriate method of dealing with the disclosure reasonably available;

(e) the disclosure has already been dealt with adequately; or

(f) the disclosure is made for pecuniary gain or other illegal purpose.

14. Subject to section seventeen, if a public interest disclosure received by an investigating authority is not related to –

(a) the conduct of the investigating authority or of a public officer in relation to the investigating authority; or

(b) a matter, or the conduct of any person, that it has a function

or power to investigate;

the investigating authority shall refer the disclosure to another investigating authority that, because it has a function or power to deal with the conduct or matter the disclosure concerns, is a proper authority to receive the disclosure.

15. (1) An investigating authority shall investigate a public interest disclosure received by it if the disclosure relates to-

(a) its own conduct or conduct of a public officer in relation to the investigating authority;

(b) a matter, or the conduct of any person, that the investigating authority has a function or power to investigate; or

(c) the conduct of a person, other than a public officer, performing services for or on behalf of the investigating authority

(2) Where an investigating authority investigates a matter in accordance with subsection (1) and is unable to investigate the matter impartially or without a conflict of interest, the authority shall refer the matter to another investigating authority.

(3) A disclosure may be referred before or after the matter has been investigated and whether or not any investigation of the matter is complete or any findings have been made by the investigating authority.

(4) An investigating authority may communicate to another investigating authority to a public officer or public authority any information relevant for purposes of an investigating authority has obtained during the investigation of any matter under this Act.

(5) An investigating authority may recommend what action should be taken by the other investigating authority, a public officer or public authority.

(6) An investigating authority shall not refer the disclosure to another investigating authority, or to a public officer or public authority, except after taking into consideration the views of the investigating authority, public officer or public authority.

16. (1) Subject to subsection (2), if a public interest disclosure being investigated by an investigating authority relates to-

(a) the conduct of another agency or the conduct of a public officer in relation to another agency; or

(b) a matter, or the conduct of any person, that another agency has a function or power to investigate;

the investigating authority shall refer the public interest disclosure to another investigating authority

(2) Nothing in this section affects the duty of an investigating authority to act under section fifteen.

17. (1) An investigating authority shall not refer a public interest disclosure to another investigating authority under section fourteen or subsection (1) of section sixteen if in the investigating authority’s

opinion-

(a) there is a serious risk that a person would engage in an unlawful reprisal; or

(b) the proper investigation of the disclosure would be prejudiced;

as a result of the reference to the other investigating authority.

(2) Where a non-referral of the type referred to in subsection (1) occurs, the matter shall be referred immediately to the Investigator-General who shall decide what action is to be taken in relation to the matter.

18. Where after investigation, an investigating authority is of

the opinion that a public interest disclosure has revealed-

(a) that a person has engaged, is engaging, or intends to engage, in disclosable conduct;

(b) public wastage;

(c) that a person has engaged, is engaging, or intends to engage, in an unlawful reprisal; or

(d) that a public officer has engaged, is engaging, or intends to engage, in conduct that amounts to a substantial and specific danger to the health or safety of the public;

the investigating authority shall take such action as is necessary and reasonable to –

(i) prevent the conduct or reprisal continuing or occurring in future;

(ii) discipline any person responsible for the conduct or reprisal;

(iii) bring an action in court or prosecute any person responsible for the conduct or reprisal, under this Act or relevant investigating Act; or

(iv) confiscate or forfeit any property, benefit or other proceed obtained from or through the conduct or reprisal or acquired by any person through the commission of any offence under this Act or any investigating Act.

19. (I) A person who makes a public interest disclosure, or an investigating authority which refers a disclosure to another investigating authority, may request the investigating authority to which the disclosure was made or referred to provide a progress report.

(2) Where a request is made under subsection (1), the investigating authority to which the request is made shall provide a progress report to the person who, or investigating authority which

requested it-

(a) within fourteen days from the date of receipt of the request; and

(b) if the investigating authority takes further action with respect to the disclosure after providing a progress report under paragraph (a)-

(i) while the authority is taking action, at least once in every ninety day period commencing on the

date of provision of the report under paragraph (a); and

(ii) on completion of the action.

(3) A progress report provided under subsection (2) shall contain the following particulars with respect to the investigating authority that provides the report:

(a) where the investigating authority has declined to act on the public interest disclosure, that it has declined to act and the ground on which it so declined;

(b) where the investigating authority has referred the public interest disclosure to another investigating authority, that it has referred the disclosure to another investigating authority and the name of the authority to which the disclosure has been referred;

(c) where the investigating authority has accepted the public interest disclosure for investigation, the current status of the investigation; and

(d) where the investigating authority has accepted the public interest disclosure for investigation and the investigation is complete, its findings and any action it has taken or proposes to take as a result of its findings.

(4) Nothing in this section prevents any investigating authority from providing a progress report in accordance with subsection (3) to a person who may make a request under subsection (1).

20. If more than one investigating authority is required by this Act to act on a public interest disclosure, the investigating authorities may enter into such arrangements with each other as are necessary and reasonable to-

(a) avoid duplication of action;

(b) allow the resources of the authorities to be efficiently and economically used to take action; and

(c) achieve the most effective result.

58. An investigating authority or principal officer, or other public officer, of a government agency to whom a disclosure is made under this Act or, if the disclosure is referred, the investigating authority or principal officer, or other public officer, of a government agency, to whom the disclosure is referred, shall notify the person who made the disclosure, within six months of the disclosure being made, of the action taken or proposed to be taken in respect of the disclosure.

Referenced Legislation: Public Interest Disclosures Act (2010)

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