Minister Ian Borg’s chief canvasser, Jesmond Zammit, is being given an extra €20,000 ‘expertise allowance’ a year, over and above his pay for his advisory role, boosting his annual financial package to over €67,000 a year, The Shift can reveal.
This allowance is reserved only for qualified experts and requires the approval of the prime minister, according to the internal government guidelines. Zammit is taking home pay that is higher than the minister’s official salary.
Scandal is once again rocking Robert Abela’s government following revelations that Zammit’s daughter, 22-year old Adreana Zammit, was also put on a €7,000 a month income through direct orders by Transport Malta as a junior lawyer.
The Shift is reliably informed that Zammit holds no specialised qualifications, putting in serious doubt his eligibility for the extra €20,000 allowance for his ‘expertise’.
Sources at the Transport Ministry told The Shift that Zammit is considered to be Ian Borg’s right-hand man and his chief canvasser. Zammit, from Zebbug, has been close to the Transport Minister for many years, and also played a role in the Minister’s wedding a few years ago.
After spending the first Labour legislature as Ian Borg’s chief of staff when Borg was parliamentary secretary, Zammit relinquished his post at the ministry in 2017 only to become an advisor, increasing his income considerably while doing the same job as before.
While Zammit was raking in some €45,000 a year as chief of staff, he boosted his income by an additional €20,000 a year through the ‘expertise allowance’.
The Standards Commissioner, who was yesterday asked to look into the direct orders of Zammit’s daughter and potential abuse of power by Minister Borg is now also expected to investigate her father’s contracts.
The Shift is informed that while, in 2017, Borg gave his friend a three-year contract worth €59,000 a year, Zammit was switched to an annual advisory contract in June 2020, boosting his income to €67,062 a year.
On top of his salary, Zammit receives the €20,000 for his ‘expertise’ plus additional car, mobile and other allowances that increase his income by another €10,000.
According to his latest contract, seen by The Shift, Zammit’s advisory role has no specific subject and only says that the minister’s friend is to act “according to the instructions and directives given to him by the minister”.
Daughter given lucrative contract before getting warrant
Zammit’s daughter, Adreana, obtained her warrant as a lawyer in January 2020.
Despite her lack of experience, Transport Malta, on the specific orders of Minister Borg, gave her a direct order to provide legal advice to the transport regulator at €7,690 a month in in October 2019.
In August 2020, Transport Malta signed a new contract with the 22-year-old for legal consultation, again through a direct order, paid €46,141 every six months.
The contract covers three years, up till May 2023. So far, it is not known how much the daughter of Minister Ian Borg’s friend will be paid in total.
Adreana Zammit considers her father to be the man behind the personal electoral success of Minister Borg.
On the day the general election results were announced in 2017, she congratulated her father publicly “for Ian and Daddy’s” amazing result at the polls. The post has since been removed.
Coach Zammit and Bogdanovic released from arrest
Jesmond Zammit, who is currently coaching Gudja FC, hit the headlines in 2016 when he was coaching Gozitan football team Xewkija Tigers.
Following the arrest of one of his star players at the time, Daniel Bogdanovic, over alleged threats to his former wife, Zammit, at the time Borg’s chief of staff, called Police Assistant Commissioner Carmelo Magri over his player’s arrest.
Soon after, the police released the player, just in time for Zammit to play Bogdanovic during a crucial match.
Bogdanovic is stirred further controversy through his relationship with Education Minister Justyne Caruana who gave him a €5,000 a month contract. The contract was rescinded by the prime minister after being revealed by the media. The issue is being investigated by the Standards Commissioner.
While claims were made that the police acted following political pressure, disgraced former prime minister Joseph Muscat had defended Zammit’s actions, stating that he had called the police as a coach and not as chief of staff.
Zammit had told an inquiry that it was “his duty” to inquire about his player’s arrest but denied exerting political pressure on the police.