NMa provides whistleblowers with clarity

13 April 2006

Natascha Linssen

December 2005

The NMa has drawn up a Policy Rule for whistleblowers which contains the conditions subject to which whistleblowers can notify the NMa of suspected cartels or other infringements of the Dutch Competition Act.

By providing clarity on the way in which the NMa treats whistleblowers, the NMa expects more informers will provide it with relevant information which may lead directly to new investigations, can make a contribution to current investigations or can give the NMa better insight into a certain sector.

One of the most important aspects of the policy rule is that a whistleblower whose identity is not known to the NMa remains anonymous. If the informer is not anonymous, the NMa will only make the informer's identity known if offences have been committed which have to be reported or if a court orders disclosure in a case. To provide better guarantees that whistleblowers will remain anonymous, the NMa has entered into an agreement with M, a national reporting centre to which crimes can be reported.

Whistleblowers can also seek to contact the NMa through an intermediary. An intermediary's identity must always be revealed to the NMa and he or she will remain the contact person in any further investigations. Whistleblowers may make a choice between two types of intermediaries: intermediaries who enjoy the right of non-disclosure and intermediaries without this right. The advantage of using an intermediary with the right of non-disclosure is that the intermediary cannot be heard by the court as a witness under oath. Otherwise during a hearing, the court may order disclosure of the identity of the informer. This risk of losing anonymity remains if the informer uses an intermediary who does not have the right of non-disclosure.

Source: NMa press release of 2 December 2005, available at http://www.nmanet.nl