In spite of pleading guilty to stealing money from the sale of ferry tickets in 2015, the politically connected Raymond Borg, known as ‘ix-Xitan’ (The Devil), has been rehired by Gozo Channel and returned to his former position.
Borg was found guilty of stealing funds by selling used ferry tickets in 2015, which was captured on CCTV footage.
Gozo Channel chairman Joe Cordina, a Labour candidate, confirmed that his company has placed Borg in the same job he had prior to the theft, shifting the blame for this decision onto the UHM.
In UHM correspondence sent to Cordina and seen by The Shift, UHM official Kenneth Abela claimed that Borg had reformed and deserved to be rewarded by appointing him to his original job.
“The Union strongly believes that Raymond Borg shall be rewarded for his loyalty and hard work during the last years and, hence, is kindly asking your kind intervention so that Raymond Borg will be enjoying all the provisions of the current collective agreement, including the salary increase for his grade,” wrote Abela, the UHM’s employment relations manager.
“Kindly note that, if this claim is not settled ASAP, the Union will be considering all the actions it deems necessary to safeguard the employee,” he added.
Borg’s story goes back to 2015 when, along with his colleague George Zammit, he was recorded on CCTV selling used ferry tickets and keeping the money. He was immediately suspended from his job at Gozo Channel and charges were brought against him in court.
Despite admitting to the crime and being found guilty in 2017, ‘Borg and Zammit were conditionally discharged for three years, while Magistrate Joe Mifsud, in an unusual move, insisted that the two should be given back their job when there is “a window of opportunity”, after recognising their mistakes.
According to the court proceedings, Borg and Zammit had kept €355 from selling used tickets on the day they were caught.
Despite resistance by Gozo Channel’s management, political pressure was mounted and the two were rehired soon after the court’s decision.
However, according to the company, their reinstatement was bound to several conditions, including a demotion, assigning them to work in Malta instead of Gozo, and barring them from handling money or ferry tickets.
Yet, three years down the line, Gozo Channel’s decision has now been reversed.
“It is back to square one,” a long-time employee told The Shift.
“Ix-Xitan is back, doing exactly what he used to do when he was defrauding the company. You can imagine how serious and upright employees now feel,” said the employee.
Borg had earlier been at the centre of controversies.
In 2013, just a few months after Labour was returned to power, Borg had ordered a Gozo Channel captain to return his vessel to Cirkewwa, half-way through its journey.
It later transpired that the reason for Borg’s order was to pick up then-Gozo Minister Anton Refalo, after he missed the boat in Malta. Refalo later admitted that he had contacted Borg to complain that he was left at Cirkewwa.