Jonathon Ferris files court application saying rejection of his whistleblower status is illegal

The sworn application was filed this morning against the principal permanent secretary Mario Cutajar and Philip Massa, who is in charge of the External Whistleblower Unit within the Office of the Prime Minister

Jonathan Ferris was sacked from the FIAU in June 2017 and claims to be in possession of damning evidence of wrongdoing by government politicians
Jonathan Ferris was sacked from the FIAU in June 2017 and claims to be in possession of damning evidence of wrongdoing by government politicians

Jonathon Ferris, the former FIAU official who claims he has information on corruption involving top government officials this morning filed a sworn application against principal permanent secretary Mario Cutajar, and External Whistleblower officer Philip Massa.

Ferris, who was sacked from the unit in June last year, was denied whistleblower status in March, and has now filed an application calling on the courts to declare that the authorities' decision was illegal and so, null and void. He is also asking the courts to declare that his treatment by the government went against his basic rights.

In the application, signed by his lawyers Jason Azzopardi and Andrew Borg Cardona, Ferris states that upon deciding to request whistleblower protection, his lawyer and himself had met with Godwin Pulis at the Office of the Prime Minister in order to start the process.

“The official referred the applicant [Ferris] to first make his request to another government department (External Whistleblower Unit) and a meeting was held with Massa, the accused,” reads the sworn application.

Read more: Government refusing claim for whistleblower protection to former FIAU worker

It states that after being asked to handover documents he had in his possession in order to truly show that he deserved such status, an “ email correspondence saga” commenced between Massa and Ferris’ lawyers which ultimately ended in the former FIAU official being told he had not fulfilled the necessary criteria for eligibility.

According to Ferris, he was informed that his ineligibility was a result of him failing to have "done internal whistleblowing”.

He said the authorities’ decision, which is devoid of legal justification and logic was based on reasoning that was not relevant.

The application argues that if, as Ferris believes, he was removed from the FIAU precisely because “in carrying out his duties, he was approaching a conclusion and results that were politically uncomfortable for government politicians and those around them”, he had no way of carrying out internal whistleblowing.

Moreover, it states that had Ferris not been removed from his post, he would not have had to do any internal whistleblowing since he would have been carrying out his duty.

Read more: Sacked FIAU officer vows to release Pilatus docs on Azerbaijan

The need for whistleblower status, he says, was the result of Ferris’ removal from the FIAU, and that his rejection for such status was an “administrative action that constitutes abuse of power by the public authority”.  

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, Justice minister Owen Bonnici, Finance minister Edward Scicluna, Attorney General Peter Grech, the head of the FIAU and other unit officials, the Police commissioner and Godwin Pulis have all been called as witnesses.

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