Manwel Mallia and Owen Bonnici piloted the Whistleblower Act in July 2013 when the Labour government was still in its honeymoon and no one outside the walls of the prime minister’s studio knew about the Panama conspiracy.
Back then Manwel Mallia and Owen Bonnici had not yet left the frame of mind of an opposition party. They quite likely were innocent enough to think that Joseph Muscat really meant it when he harangued the previous PN government with the promise of a cleanup of politics and the introduction of meritocracy like it had never happened before. Although to be fair the adjective “innocent” and the noun “Manwel Mallia” do not sit comfortably in the same sentence. Like a virgin.
In any case here they are in cheery adolescent shorts-spraying enthusiasm speaking about the Whistleblower Act in 2013:
Owen Bonnici on 8th July, 2013: “I want to give special thanks to my parliamentary group colleagues, among them Manwel Mallia, that shared his massive experience in order for this law to provide these important tools in this Bill that I deem will be very important”.
Manwel Mallia on 11th July, 2013: “I am today proud to be part of a Party and a Parliament that is approving this Bill that in a few weeks will bring about a radical change in the Whistleblower Act inherited from the Nationalists. The new clause 5 says that if you have a court or tribunal handling a case of an informant that is also an actor or accomplice in a crime, the sentence meted must take into account the revelations and the penalty is reduced or forgiven. We also provide that if the informant is part of the public administration and they are involved he or she may not have to lose their job. The Bill also provides that if an informant is an actor or an accomplice, the penalty can be reduced by one or two degrees or in case of a fine halved or reduced by a third.”
Owen Bonnici on 11 July, 2013: “We believe this Bill is a clear message of seriousness in the fight against evil to send out there a message that where evil is concerned, particularly where this concerns corruption in the administration, we mean business!”
Manwel Mallia on 22nd November, 2013: “The Police has as yet not received any reports covered by the Whistleblower Act. It has been two months since this government empowered the people with the legal tools for whistle blowing. The government encourages the people to use these tools that are now part of the laws of the land given how much the protections this Act gives were missed for so many years.
Now read this report in The Times of Manwel Mallia speaking on Whistleblowers five years after he lost his political cherry. “Dr Mallia said any leakage of FIAU documents was prohibited by law, and on conviction, anyone who leaked such documents was liable to a fine of up to €116,000 and/or up to five years imprisonment.The fact that the Nationalist Party was saying it had FIAU reports or has seen FIAU reports made it, at least, an accomplice in a criminal act, Dr Mallia said. Such behaviour also amounted to encouraging people to commit a crime by leaking the documents.”
Heroic protection to fight evil in public administration? That’s no longer convenient. Whistleblowers can contemplate the crimes of the criminal bosses they reveal behind cold bars.