Whistleblowers get hotline

A national independent and confidential hot line service to help employees grass on corporate fraud has been launched in Sydney.

In an environment where the protection of whistleblowers is a significant part of proposed legislation, STOPline has teamed up with PricewaterhouseCoopers to provide a hot line for the private sector.

PwC will provide services including forensic accounting and fraud investigations, fraud risk assessment and control planning, computer forensics, pre-employment screening and other misconduct investigations to the hot line service.

"The alliance will enable both organisations to assist each other to provide more tailored services for the needs of clients in both the private and public sector," national director of investigations and forensic services for PwC, Richard Batten said.

Bob Falconer, chairman of STOPline and former Commissioner of Police in WA and Deputy Commissioner in Victoria, believes the range of services offered by PwC allows STOPline to offer clients access to "best of breed" solutions to complement its own intelligence gathering capabilities.

STOPline is already supporting public bodies in Victoria for the Whistleblowers Protection Act, which came into operation on January 1 2002.

STOPline has extended its service directly to corporate clients, from both the public and private sector.

Under the Victorian state-based Whistleblowers Protection Act, company insiders are encouraged to reveal financial misconduct or face criminal charges. In addition, companies that punish whistleblowers would be charged.

Corporate whistleblowers are expected to become protected under new laws set to be introduced by the Federal Government.

The proposed new laws have been backed by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and Australian Security and Investments Commission after a series of high-profile corporate collapses including HIH, OneTel, Enron and Worldcom.

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