The man who is tasked with ensuring good governance at the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) is being allowed by the same regulator to conduct a side business despite a potential conflict of interest.
Accountant James Grech was employed by the MGA after the 2017 elections as the gaming regulator’s Chief Internal Auditor. He was given a generous financial package of over €50,000, excluding perks. Yet the MGA has permitted Grech to conduct another side business as the Managing Director of Lead Training Services, an institution he owns.
Grech is also the director of Radar Developments Ltd – a property development company currently constructing a massive block of apartments in Marsaxlokk.
The MGA played down the potential conflict of interest in answers to The Shift, saying that although Grech is a chief officer – one of the highest grades at the Authority – he is not involved in the regulatory part of the MGA.
“His responsibility as an internal auditor is to make sure that the MGA adheres to the processes that it itself designs for its inner workings, and that good governance practices are in place,” the MGA spokesman said.
“This is not in principle viewed to be conflicting with providing educational services,” the MDA insisted while underlining that to avoid any real or apparent conflicts, Grech restricted the provision of his services to companies not licenced by the MGA.
As the MGA’s internal auditor, Grech is expected to work much more than the statutory 40 hours a week, and his financial package compensates for the extra hours he is expected to spend at the MGA.
It is unclear how Grech manages to fit in his other full time business interests, including a training institution and a property development company.
The MGA, which remains without a chairman, said Grech has also told the board that he “stopped gaming-related courses.”
What does the MGA code of ethics state?
“Outside Employment and Termination – The prior approval of the Executive Chairman is required before we may engage in any form of business or employment outside our official duties. In all cases when outside employment is considered, we shall give our employment with the Authority first consideration and avoid situations which could give rise to, or the appearance of, a conflict of interest.”