MEP calls for protection for Ferris, activists prepare for Valletta demonstration

German MEP Sven Giegold said former FIAU official Jonathan Ferris should be granted whistleblower protection

Sven Giegold, Jonathan Ferris, Antonio di Pietro
Sven Giegold, Jonathan Ferris, Antonio di Pietro

A German MEP has requested that the former police investigator Jonathan Ferris be granted whistleblower protection.

Green MEP Sven Giegold said that after the visit of the delegation of the European Parliament to Malta, Ferris had made an important contribution to the fact-finding mission.

“We were concerned to learn that he fears for the safety of himself and his family. The leader of our delegation Ana Gomez asked the police immediately in our name to provide police protection for Ferris and his family.

“Now I am shocked to learn that he is still only protected during the night through one policeman sitting in a car while the protection during the day is only limited to infrequent patrols. This is clearly insufficient. What else has to happen in Malta so that the government takes threats to exposed persons seriously? Does the government want to risk after a dead journalist a dead whistleblower? I appeal to the government to protect Jonathan Ferris and his family reliably.”

Occupy Justice on Saturday also deplored the refusal by the Prime Minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri to meet the MEPs’ delegation alone earlier this week.

Schembri, whose name cropped up in the Panama Papers, met the MEPs during their visit to the prime minister at Castille on Friday.

“Schembri cited the ongoing judicial inquiry as the reason for not answering the MEPs’ questions. This is nothing but an unfounded and pathetic excuse – no judicial proceedings can stop anyone legally from speaking out. If anything, the Chief of Staff of the Prime Minister has a duty to speak out and answer questions about his behaviour.  OccupyJustice is therefore asking: what is Mr Schembri hiding? And why is the Prime Minister protecting him?”

Various magisterial inquiries are currently ongoing into allegations of money laundering and kickbacks concerning Schembri, which were reported to the courts by former Opposition leader Keith Schembri.

“Occupy Justice would like to remind the public that after yesterday’s findings and comments by the MEP delegation, it is of utmost importance that we all regroup at the protest organised tomorrow by the Civil Society Network,” the NGO said.

The former Italian MP Antonio di Pietro, who once led the ‘Italy of Values’ party, and was an anti-corruption prosecutor in the 1990s during the ‘bribesville’ scandal, will address a demonstration in Valletta.

The demonstration will also be addressed by writer Immanuel Mifsud, journalist Caroline Muscat, civil society network activist Miriam Galea and Italian investigative journalist Marilu Mastrogiovanni.

“Civil Society Network is insisting that government removes Malta’s Police Commissioner and Attorney General in view of their lack of action on corruption and lack of collaboration with the Judiciary, as recently highlighted by Chief Justice. Their replacements should enjoy the support of at least two thirds of Parliament, in a spirit of consensus,” the CSN said.

“Civil Society Network also notes that the government took up its proposals for constitutional reform. But our support is conditional on an honest process headed by persons who are universally trusted, on transparency and on civil society participation in the reform process. To date, Government has only issued vague statements on the matter.”