Citizens engage in reporting corruption thanks to digital tools developed with UNDP support

Posted December 9, 2021

Participants in the “Hack Corruption - Law to the People” Legathon, organized by UNDP Moldova in 2019

Citizens have several digital tools at their disposal to report corruption, to become whistleblowers, to follow the path and the result of public procurement procedures. All these tools were developed over the last three years with the support of the “Curbing corruption and building sustainable integrity in the republic of Moldova” project, implemented by UNDP Moldova with the support of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The digital tools are easy to be navigated through, have simple and intuitive interfaces, and a real potential to promote the anticorruption agenda and to facilitate citizens’ communication with public institutions.

Open Money discloses public money itinerary and examines connections

In 2016, a team of young enthusiasts won the first anticorruption hackathon organized in Moldova, with the project called Open Money. The concept envisaged the development of an open-source and free of charge platform, which would use open data to show the final beneficiaries of public contracts, to make connections between public procurement results and final beneficiaries and owners of businesses. It took them half a year to create the platform, which shortly became very popular among the investigation journalists and the interested public.

During the COVID-19 pandemic period, when several derogations were applied to standard procurement procedures, Open Money contributed to increasing transparency in public procurement and in public funds’ spending, offering real-time information about concluded contracts.

In 2020, with the support of UNDP Moldova, the platform was modernized and now it is fully interoperable with the public procurement portal M-Tender. The modernized version has several new functionalities, mainstreaming public data from online governmental platforms and including information about public procurement disaggregated by the Republic of Moldova’s districts. Since 2016, the Open Money platform was accessed by 19,961 unique users. The database provides information about contracted amounts and the names of 206,465 people who benefited from them, as well as data about 219,772 companies. The platform also provides information about 2818 companies with interdiction to participate in public procurement.

The platform is highly appreciated by the decision-makers from the Ministry of Finance, National Anti-corruption Centre and the National Integrity Authority, as an innovative tool with high potential to increase transparency and integrity in public procurement.

Two online modules for protecting and training integrity whistleblowers

To facilitate access to the protection mechanism, but also to enhance the capacities of public institutions, two modules were created on the official webpage of the Ombudsperson Office dedicated to potential whistleblowers – one for submitting requests for whistleblowers’ protection, and the other one for e-learning, where all the employees of public and private institutions may find out about the whistleblowing mechanism.

By accessing the e-learning module, citizens, including potential whistleblowers, may learn how to disclose illegal practices, what are the peculiarities for disclosures in private and public sectors, what illegalities may be disclosed, as well as what are the protection guarantees for those who blow the whistle about corruption acts and irregularities in the institutions they are working in. The training course is available in Romanian and Russian languages, and accessible for people with visual impairments.

The module on protection requests for whistleblowers allows all employees subject to retaliation due to their whistleblowing to ask for Ombudsperson’s protection. Overall, 11 protection requests were received, of which 8 whistleblowers benefited from assistance.

Both modules were accessed by about 1700 unique users.

ReLawed Platform – let’ s report legal provisions which leave space for interpretation

Continuing the good practice of involving civil society in preventing corruption, the Legathon “Hack Corruption – Law to the People” organized by UNDP Moldova in 2019 brought together IT developers and young people with the aim to create the interface of an online tool to signal out corruption-generating laws.

Hence, the innovative application ReLAWed emerged, allowing citizens, representatives of private sector and NGOs to report legal provisions which could generate corruption. The respective app aims to provide persons with the possibility to engage in the process of improving the legal framework, to take an attitude, to identify and to notify or communicate deficient, incomplete, or interpretable regulatory acts, which have generated or may generate, when enforced, corruption acts, abuses, or other illegalities.

The platform allows anonymous and open reporting. Hence, the citizens may contribute to improving certain mechanisms or solving certain problems, without disclosing their identity, if they wish so. The information about every case is published by the National Anticorruption Centre’s officers on the same platform. Since the launch of the respective platform until presently, the specialists of the National Anticorruption Center registered 63 reports, out of which 44 were processed, notifying the relevant public institutions in this respect. Out of the total number of notifications, 77.4% were made by the private sector and 19.4% by the public sector.

Contact for mass-media: Olga Crivoliubic, Project Manager, (+373) 69741805, olga.crivoliubic@undp.org