Opposition leader Adrian Delia has written to the prime minister, urging him to ensure proper protection for former police officer Jonathan Ferris who as an official of the FIAU (Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit) was involved in various sensitive investigations, allegedly also involving government officials.
Yesterday Dr Delia called for the resignation or removal of former Home Affairs Minister Minister Carmelo Abela, saying correspondence proved he was directly involved in efforts to prevent Mr Ferris from faithfully exercising his duty in April 2016.
If Dr Abela did not resign in the light of concrete fact, Dr Delia said, responsibility for this would fall squarely at the feet of the Prime Minister.
Former Inspector Ferris has revealed that Mr Abela's secretary had sent him an email, with the minister copied in, to ask me how a fraud case he was investigating was progressing. He replied that it was still being investigated.
The secretary replied that was aware of such, to which the inspector told him he could fix an appointment with him if he wanted. The secretary replied in capital letters, that the minister wanted this information.
Dr Delia said he had also learnt that in May 2016 there was a series of emails from the Home Affairs Ministry, asking Mr Ferris about a particular case. The minister was copied in.
Mr Ferris replied that data protection and the law applied to all, and he could not reveal the requested information. Such direct interference by the responsible manner was unacceptable, Dr Delia said. This interference had led to Mr Ferris being unable to perform his duties.
Dr Delia noted that Mr Ferris had declared that he felt himself and his family to be in danger.
“It is the Prime Minister’s responsibility to protect Mr Ferris’s life and the Opposition will not be giving up and we will keep making sure people are protected,” Dr Delia said.
Government: Delia should have known that protection is already being given
In a reaction, the government said the police were already providing protection for Mr Ferris. Dr Delia should have known this, since it was in the media. Mr Ferris himself had said he was contacted by the police commissioner.
The government accused Dr Delia of being as negative as his predecessor.
Minister says he asked on victim's behalf
In a statement late yesterday, Dr Abela said the request for information had been filed after he received a complaint by the defrauded party in the case, saying police were not providing any information about a case in which he was a victim.
The request for such information fell within a minister’s remit, especially when faced with a complaint, he said, and could in no way be misconstrued as undue pressure or interference.
The Nationalist Party’s political opportunism put it in a situation where it clearly did not know what it wanted, the Labour Party said.
This was because while it was asking one minister at what stage investigations were at, it was also expressing contempt at a minister who had asked an inspector the same thing following a complaint by one of the affected parties.
The minister had asked about progress on the investigation, and had not interfered in it.
Those who said that this was interference were deceiving the people, the PL said. Dr Delia was once again being caught in a contradiction to please the establishment he promised to remove.
If he wanted resignations and political responsibility, the first thing Dr Delia should do was look around him, the PL said.
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