A prosecutor who was sacked from a job on the Overseas Workplace after reporting suspicions of corruption on the EU’s largest international mission has agreed a deal price greater than £400,000 with the UK authorities.
Maria Bamieh, a lawyer, has claimed for the previous eight years that the Overseas, Commonwealth and Growth Workplace (FCDO) failed to supply help after she tried to uncover potential collusion between EU officers and suspected criminals in Kosovo.
As a substitute, she mentioned, authorities officers informed her to disregard obvious proof of collusion on the EU’s rule of regulation mission, EULEX.
Her labor lawsuit was as a consequence of be heard in a labor tribunal in Might and June this 12 months, however simply earlier than the primary listening to a settlement of slightly below £423,000 was agreed with no admission of legal responsibility. The FCDO mentioned it continues to strongly deny Bamieh’s claims.
For the primary time for the reason that deal, Bamieh informed the Guardian she ought to have been counseled for uncovering proof of corruption however as an alternative she was mistreated and compelled out of her job.
“I consider that I needs to be counseled and supported by the FCDO for voicing my considerations about potential corruption inside EULEX and the remedy I’ve suffered thereafter, however as an alternative I felt let down,” mentioned you.
The chair of the Particular Committee on Overseas Affairs, Tom Tugendhat, commented on the case and known as on the Overseas Workplace to revise its complaints procedures.
“It takes a number of morale and braveness to lift your head over the parapet understanding there may be vital private prices.
“The duvet-up tradition advantages nobody. If the Overseas Workplace strengthened its complaints procedures and elevated its openness, maybe ministry workers wouldn’t must resort to such drastic measures,” he mentioned.
Bamieh was working as a global prosecutor for EULEX in Kosovo when she first raised her considerations in mid-2012.
Eulex had value greater than €1bn (£703m) to be arrange by the EU on guarantees to go after the “massive fish” amongst Kosovar politicians allegedly concerned in organized crime.
Bamieh, a former crown prosecutor and UN lawyer who has handled battle crimes and arranged crime, informed the tribunal that the FCDO’s failure to help and intervene led to the termination of her tenure with the FCDO in late 2014.
Court docket paperwork declare that in 2012 she uncovered a conspiracy to undermine her personal corruption investigations right into a Kosovar well being official. Conversations recorded by means of court-authorized wiretaps indicated that intermediaries for the officer underneath investigation had spoken to a senior EULEX decide about disrupting Bamieh’s investigations, court docket paperwork mentioned.
One other leak appeared to indicate senior prosecutor had shared particulars of Bamieh’s investigation with a contact on the well being ministry official, sources mentioned.
Bamieh, who was employed by the Overseas Workplace and seconded to EULEX, raised her considerations with a UK authorities official in June 2012.
In accordance with her report, Bamieh organized a gathering with the then British contingent chief in Kosovo in a bistro bar within the capital Pristina. The diplomat was given copies of related paperwork, together with transcripts of wiretaps, which allegedly confirmed these concerned in her investigation have been themselves knowledgeable illegally.
Bamieh claimed the diplomat didn’t have a look at the proof and as an alternative suggested her to “flip a blind eye,” though this was denied by the FCDO in its response to the allegation.
Excessive-ranking officers on the embassy have been additionally contacted by Bamieh concerning the allegations, the paperwork say.
The next 12 months, Bamieh was topic to a disciplinary listening to for automobile parking violations and failure to comply with job alternative procedures.
The disciplinary motion was putting in comparison with how different EULEX workers have been handled in related circumstances, Bamieh’s attorneys claimed.
In 2014 it was introduced that the FCDO would cut back the variety of prosecutors at EULEX. Consequently, Bamieh was served with a discover of termination in November.
Mike Cain, a accomplice at regulation agency Leigh Day, who represented Bamieh, mentioned: “Whistleblower safety is vital to a good and functioning democratic society. That is much more true in areas the place public energy is exercised, as was the case when our consumer articulated and reported her considerations each in Kosovo and to senior figures throughout the FCDO.”
Bamieh hopes to testify earlier than the Particular Committee on Overseas Affairs about her dealings with one other EULEX whistleblower, Malcolm Simmons.
A Overseas Workplace spokesman mentioned: “We now have agreed to settle this longstanding case with none act of contrition and proceed to firmly refute these allegations.”