Former FIAU investigator tells court ministry had asked for ‘sensitive details’ about a case

Jonathan Ferris’s job with the FIAU was terminated and his request for re-instatement into the police force was denied

Jonathan Ferris
Jonathan Ferris

Former police inspector and FIAU investigator Jonathan Ferris has told a court that the Home Affairs Ministry had requested “sensitive details” about a case he had been investigating.

Ferris, whose employment contract with the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit had been terminated during the probationary period, shortly after he had joined the unit from the police force, said that the request was something which he could never do.

The home affairs minister at the time was Carmelo Abela, he told Mr Justice Toni Abela in a Constitutional case he had filed, accusing Police Commissioner Lawrence Cutajar of breaching his fundamental rights and disqualifying him from his police pension when he terminated his employment.

Many police officers had been seconded with other entities at the time he had made his request, but for some reason, his had been refused.

Ferris added that a large number of ex-police officers had been readmitted onto the force but that he had not been allowed to re-join.

It had been a person from the minister’s secretariat who pressured him for details about the case, he said, adding that this kind of pressure bothered him greatly.

He explained how he had been encouraged to apply to join the FIAU due to his extensive experience in combating fraud with the police. It wasn’t an easy decision, he said, as he had loved the police force.

Ferris had been engaged as a police inspector since September 2011, had been encouraged to join the FIAU as a manager financial analysis in 2016.

He had requested to be seconded to the unit, which entailed only a transfer from the Home Affairs ministry to the Ministry of Finance, but this had been denied.

He claimed that since 2013, 26 police officers had been given permission to be seconded to similar units, but that he had not been allowed to.

Between August and October 2016, Ferris had a number of meetings with Commissioner Cutajar, but had always encountered resistance from him. Ferris said he was never given a reason for the rejection of his request for secondment.

He had sued the FIAU for unfair dismissal after his employment with the unit had been terminated whilst he was still on probation.

In May 2017, he had formally requested the Commissioner of Police and Assistant Commissioner Dr Mario Spiteri allow him to re-join and had been told it should not be a problem, given his excellent track record. Despite this, his official request was never answered.

Ferris said he felt discriminated against because there had been 119 reinstatements since 2013 and his request had been completely ignored.

Lawyers Andrew Borg Cardona, Therese Comodini Cachia, Jason Azzopardi and Evelyn Borg Costanzi are appearing for Jonathan Ferris.

The case continues in November.

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