The Malta Gaming Authority refers to the Press Release issued by the National Whistleblower Center (https://www.whistleblowersblog.org/2018/02/articles/international/press-release-u-s-ngo-calls-upon-greco-to-monitor-maltas-implementation-of-whistleblower-law-in-valery-atanasov-case/) on 28 February 2018, and rejects the claim that Mr Valery Atanasov, (an ex-employee of the Authority) was subjected to any form of retaliation in connection with allegations he has made with respect to the Authority.
Mr. Atanasov’s employment as an IT Administrator was terminated in line with the Collective Agreement binding upon the Authority, in connection with charges of incompetence, poor performance and abuse committed by Mr Atanasov which dated back to 2011 and 2012. The termination of his employment was effected following lengthy disciplinary proceedings, presided by external and independent adjudicators, in the course of which various witnesses, independent of the Authority, testified about Mr. Atanasov’s shortcomings. The termination of his employment occurred with effect from 26 February 2015.
Mr Atanasov started making allegations of wrongdoing against the Authority at the end of the disciplinary proceedings. These were duly investigated by the Authority’s Internal Auditor and no irregularities were discovered. The chronology is undisputable: The Authority did not take any retaliatory action against Mr Atanasov for any alleged whistleblower action. Mr Atanasov made allegations about the Authority after he was subjected to disciplinary proceedings. When Mr Atanasov started making serious and false allegations about the Authority (in May 2017), following his termination of employment, the Authority filed judicial proceedings in order to protect its reputation.
It was only on 22 November 2017, two years and eight months after his termination of employment, that Mr Atanasov filed an application in the First Hall of the Civil Court of Malta, claiming whistleblower protection. Such proceedings are sub iudice. The Authority, whilst contesting Mr Atanasov’s claims as factually and legally false and incorrect, declares that it respects Mr Atanasov’s request for whistleblower status and will abide by any final and definitive judicial declarations.
The Authority looks forward to the opportunity to provide all the information, explanations and evidence in the Law Courts, to clear this matter once and for all. The MGA is also willing to cooperate with GRECO and any other independent authority, to show evidence to prove that nothing irregular took place but that the Authority acted in accordance with the principles of natural justice, acting responsibly and transparently throughout the whole process.
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29 October 2020