The Malta Independent 18 March 2019, Monday

Updated: No whistleblower status unless there is a disclosure, ministry tells Ferris

Monday, 15 January 2018, 16:26 Last update: about 2 years ago

Former FIAU investigator Jonathan Ferris was asked by an OPM unit to disclose all information he had before actually being granted whistleblower status, his lawyers said in a judicial protest filed today.

But the government, reacting, said that the whole concept of whistleblower protection “is based on the fact that the person who claims to be a whistleblower makes a disclosure.”

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In the judicial protest, Ferris, who was fired from the FIAU in 2017, asked the Attorney General to grant him whistleblower protection, arguing that he will hold government and the AG responsible for negligence in their duties.

Since November, Ferris' lawyers were writing to government officials requesting that he receives whistleblower protection, due to information Ferris has regarding corruption, abuse of power and money laundering.

In January, Ferris' lawyers wrote to the External Disclosure Whistleblowing Unit at the Office of the Prime Minister, who said that he is expected to provide information relative to the disclosure before protection is given.

This, the protest reads, means that Ferris has been trying to be accorded Whistleblower status since November, and now is being asked to reveal information before being granted Whistleblower status. The lawyers argued that this contrasts how other wistleblowers were treated by this administration.

The protest was signed by lawyers Jason Azzopardi, Andrew Borg Cardona and Roselyn Borg Knight.

In a statement this evening, the Justice Ministry said “whistleblower protection is provided according to established procedure emanating from the legislation agreed upon unanimously by both Government and Opposition in Parliament. This procedure has been adopted in all requests brought forward, including that lodged by Mr. Jonathan Ferris.”

 “There cannot be a whistleblower without a disclosure and one certainly cannot demand whistleblower protection without revealing what one has to disclose even if this is done confidentially to the whistleblower reporting unit or officer. The Protection of the Whistleblower Act provides for this,” the ministry said.

 

 “The Attorney General has nothing to do with initial reception of disclosures under the Protection of the Whistleblower Act and Mr. Ferris’ claim that he is being discriminated against by the Attorney General are outrightly calumnious,” it said. 

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