The appointment by Minister Clint Camilleri of his own brother-in-law onto the board of directors of a State company was cut short just a few days ago following revelations by The Shift on the running of Pitkalija Ltd – the company responsible for the management of the vegetable market in Ta’ Qali.
Investigations carried out by The Shift show that while he was Parliamentary Secretary responsible for Agriculture, under the administration of disgraced former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, Clint Camilleri had appointed his wife’s brother, Ruben Mercieca, as a director of Pitkalija Ltd.
Mercieca, a teacher in a public school, had no idea or connection whatsoever with the running of companies or the agricultural sector.
Through this appointment, Camilleri gave his brother-in-law the opportunity to pocket a few extra thousand euro a year from taxpayer funds. Yet, Mercieca’s appointment did not last.
Following The Shift’s report on Pitkalija Ltd at the end of last month, all the members of the company’s Board were replaced.
Following The Shift’s report on Pitkalija Ltd at the end of last month, Anton Refalo, the new Agriculture Minister and arch-rival of Camilleri in Gozo, appointed a new Board.
The new Board is now largely composed of Refalo’s canvassers: Three Gozitans from Nadur (Carmel Camilleri), Qala (Joseph Camilleri) and Kercem (Ronald Parnis), a developer from Mellieha, Joseph Vella, and Karl Azzopardi, the CEO of Malta Industrial Parks.
Camilleri, now Gozo Minister, admitted that he had appointed his wife’s brother when questioned by The Shift. Yet he justified the decision by stating that “at the time Mercieca was not related to him”.
Camilleri appointed his brother-in-law as a director of Pitkalija Ltd in February 2018, shortly after becoming parliamentary secretary. He married Mercieca’s sister, Deborah, three months later, in May 2018.
Prime Minister Robert Abela has repeatedly stressed the need for his ‘team’ to respect the code of ethics, insisting that he will adopt a zero-policy to abuse.
Already known for their parochial approach to politics, the three Ministers are all vying for the same cohort of votes, competing among themselves on who will dish out the most favours to gain votes, political observers have confirmed.