Banking royal commission: Whistleblower’s career destroyed for exposing corruption
Banking royal commission: Whistleblower’s career destroyed for exposing corruption

CBA exposé cost whistleblower his career

A WHISTLEBLOWER who exposed CBA corruption and campaigned for the royal banking commission said the industry destroyed his career with an "army of lies" as punishment.

Commissioner Kenneth Hayne will release the recommendations from the Royal Commission Into Misconduct In The Banking, Superannuation And Financial Services Industry on Monday, with the industry bracing itself for possible civil or criminal referrals.

But for whistleblower Jeff Morris, who was diagnosed with PTSD as a result of the emotional toll from going public with allegations, the moment is bittersweet.

Mr Morris, a former CBA employee, sent a fax to ASIC in 2008 about a "high-level conspiracy'' by management to cover up rogue ­financial planner Don Nguyen.

Mr Nguyen was eventually banned by ASIC in 2011 from providing financial services for seven years after he was found to have failed to have "reasonable basis for advice" or even give customers product disclosure statements.

Mr Morris went public in 2013 about how ASIC had bungled tips provided by himself and two other whistleblowers on Mr Nguyen.

Speaking to The Daily Telegraph yesterday, Mr Morris said he was hopeful the commission report would go hard on ASIC.

"I think given the testimonies that came out (of the commission) there's some major problems with the regulator because nobody is afraid of them," Mr Morris, who left CBA in 2013, said.

 

Mr Morris’ wife died days after the royal commission was announced. Picture: Tim Pascoe
Mr Morris’ wife died days after the royal commission was announced. Picture: Tim Pascoe

 

Mr Morris said he was forced to go public with his story because of ASIC's inaction, which took an immense personal toll on his family and resulted in a death threat.

He said he had job offers killed after CBA and banking lobbyists sought to discredit him. He said it was a similar story for other whistleblowers at other banks.

The stress also had an immense toll on Mr Morris's marriage.

His wife passed away from cancer days after the royal commission was announced.

"She never wanted me to do it …(she said) 'you're going to take on the Commonwealth Bank, they'll destroy you', which is a very reasonable position," he said.

"But when a smear campaign cost me another job in 2015 she said, 'I never really understood why you had to do what you did. I didn't understand just how evil these people are, but now I do and you keep going with my blessing and you get that royal commission'."

Mr Morris said while it "hadn't been the commission he wanted", he was happy banks were being forced to change.

He said he had to take action after he saw retirees "crying and trembling" in his office after losing hundreds of thousands of dollars in super after getting dodgy CBA financial advice. "One manager told me it wasn't my job to encourage them to make a complaint, it was my job to make them go away."

On Sunday Labor revealed that if elected it would introduce cash rewards for whistleblowers calling out corporate malfeasance.

Former Labor senator Sam Dastyari said that when he was chair of the economics committee, which set up an inquiry into the scrutiny of financial advice, banking lobbyists had approached him to try to smear Mr Morris.



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