Axed FIAU investigator Jonathan Ferris calls on Attorney General to grant him whistleblower status

The former Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit investigator Jonathan Ferris has filed a judicial protest calling on the Attorney General to grant him whistleblower status

Former police Inspector Jonathan Ferris has filed a judicial protest calling on the Attorney General to grant him whistleblower status, saying he would be holding him and the government responsible for “negligence or worse” in the execution of their duties.

Ferris, a former police inspector specialising in prosecuting fraud cases, had been fired from a new post at the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit in June 2017, shortly after starting in the role. Ferris insists that the termination of his employment was illegal and abusive, the result of ministerial interference.

READ MORE: Ferris will reveal information if 'something happens' to him

“He is aware and informed of acts of corruption, abuse of power, money laundering that occurred over the past few years and that are still ongoing, involving high ranking officials of the Maltese Government, however he is unable to collaborate with the authorities and judicial institutions due to the real risk that he suffer legal consequences under the law which set up the FIAU,” reads the protest, which was filed by lawyers Andrew Borg Cardona, Roselyn Borg Knight and Jason Azzopardi on Monday morning.

It was for this reason that since November, his lawyers had been writing to a number of government officials under the Whistleblower Act of 2013 to be given protection under that law. He had a preliminary meeting with the Whistleblower Officer at the Ministry of Finance and another with the Whistleblower Officer at the Ministry for Justice in December but both meetings were fruitless.

In January, Ferris’ lawyers had written to the External Disclosure Whistleblowing Unit at the Office of the Prime Minister, who replied to the effect that he is expected to provide the information relative to the disclosure first.

“This means that the protestant has been since end of November 2017 trying without success to be accorded the status of whistleblower under the law mentioned and now, to rub salt in the wound, he was asked before being given the comfort of the status of whistleblower, to reveal the information he has to the same OPM where the External Disclosure Whistleblowing Unit is.”

This was contrasted with how the present administration had dealt with other whistleblowers, “who had not only been given direct orders in contracts of over a million euro after 2013, but also, for the first time since the setting up of the Permanent Commission against Corruption in 1988, the AG in 2014 rushed over 50 certificates of immunity from prosecution to over 60 persons involved in the scandal of smart meter tampering.”

Ferris's lawyers argued that this behaviour on the part of the government was not acceptable in a democratic society built on the rule of law, where the citizen was supposed to be helped.

The fact that Ferris was seeking whistleblower protection was revealed in the report drawn up by MEPs, who had come to Malta on a fact-finding mission last November. It was Prime Minister Joseph Muscat who told the MEPs that Ferris had applied for whistleblower protection and would be given protection in line with what the law dictates.

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