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Protection of the Whistleblower

The Protection of the Whistleblower

The Protection of the Whistleblower Act Cap. 527 came into force in September 2013. By means of this Act, an employee who makes a protected disclosure is protected from detrimental action, in that the whistleblower will not be liable to any civil, criminal proceedings or disciplinary proceedings for having made such a disclosure.

 The below characteristics define what makes an internal disclosure protected or unprotected.

 

Protected Disclosure

Unprotected Disclosure

A disclosure is considered protected when:

1.  the disclosure is made in good faith;

2. the Whistleblower reasonably believes that his/her disclosure on any improper practice committed by the employer / another employee of his employer / persons acting in the employer’s name and interests are substantially true;

3.  the disclosure is not made for the purposes of personal gain.

A disclosure is considered unprotected when:

1.  the disclosure is made by an employee who knowingly discloses information s/he knows or ought to reasonably know is false. Such is deemed to be an offence punishable in accordance with article 101 of the Criminal Code;

2. a person discloses information protected by legal professional privilege;

3.    it is made anonymously. In such cases the WRO may still process such disclosures, but if they are deemed defamatory or libellous, they will be discarded.

Should the whistleblower be a perpetrator or an accomplice in the improper practice, then s/he is NOT exempt from civil, criminal or disciplinary proceedings. Nevertheless, in giving its judgement or decision, any court or tribunal may take into account the fact that the disclosure was made.

Each Government Ministry is represented by a Whistleblowing Reporting Officer (WRO), from the rank of Assistant Director and above. The contact details of the Whistleblowing Reporting Officer within the Ministry for Health are outlined below:

 

Whistleblowing Reporting Officer:

Doreen Portelli, Director General Strategy & Implementation

Contact Number:

22992235

Contact Email:

whistleblower.mfh@gov.mt

The WRO is responsible for receiving internal disclosures and addressing the concerns raised by the whistleblower accordingly. Nevertheless, if the whistleblower is not satisfied with the outcome or s/he has reasoned beliefs which are in line with arictle 16 of the said act, then s/he may submit an external disclosure to the Whistleblowing Reports Unit of the authority as provided in OPM Circular No. 18/2013.