Anti-money laundering investigator Jonathan Ferris continues to be denied whistleblower status following a reply to his judicial protest filed by Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, Justice Minister Owen Bonnici, Attorney General Peter Grech and Philip Massa, the head of the External Whistleblower Unit at the Prime Minister’s Office.
In a response (counter protest) to the second judicial protest that Ferris filed two weeks ago, Muscat and Bonnici denied being the appropriate defendants in the matter, while Massa simply said that Ferris did not qualify. Ferris, a former official at the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit, has been requesting whistleblower status since November.
In his second judicial protest Ferris had noted the “interminable saga” to grant him protection despite reassurances given by the Justice Minister to MEPs investigating the rule of law in Malta that he would be given protection. He called this, “an abusive and illegal delay”.
Ferris was sacked from the FIAU a few days after the 2017 general election, after he started looking into reports by journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia that the Panama company Egrant, revealed in the Panama Papers, was owned by the Prime Minister’s wife, Michelle Muscat.
He has been seeking whistleblower status to reveal his findings but he has so far been stalled. He risks a five-year jail term if he reveals the content of his investigations at the FIAU.
In the wake of the arrest of the owner of Pilatus Bank this week, Ferris said it was “the beginning of the end of a dark period that has engulfed our country, which has been abused and used by individuals for their own personal gain rather than the benefit of the people”.
The Justice Minister had told MEPs investigating the rule of law in Malta that there would be no dragging of feet in granting Ferris whistleblower status. The reply he filed to Ferris’ judicial protest, together with the Prime Minister, now shows that is far from the truth.
Ferris’ legal team dismissed the government’s stonewalling tactics, saying: “Ferris will not be stopping here”.