Education Ministry in spectacular about-turn in MCAST lecturer’s court challenge of transfer order

MCAST continues to ‘persecute’ lecturer Peter Gatt, who exposed alleged rackets within the college


The Education Ministry has reversed a decision to transfer a ‘persecuted’ MCAST lecturer soon after a challenge was presented in court.

In a surreal court hearing yesterday, lawyers representing the education minister and her permanent secretary Frans Fabri, told a bewildered judge that an e-mail ordering MCAST lecturer Peter Gatt to report for work at the Ministry, instead of his lecturing post at MCAST, was not a transfer but only an “exploratory communication.”

“This was only sent because we wanted to speak to the lecturer and we had no intention of going against a court order,” Education Ministry lawyer Julian Farrugia told Judge Toni Abela.

Education Ministry’s lawyers declare u-turn on the order sent to Peter Gatt

 Defending the Ministry from accusations of a contempt of a court order, the Ministry’s lawyer insisted that the authorities had no intention of forcing the transfer of Gatt, as being pushed by MCAST’s Principal James Calleja.

Hearing the Ministry’s arguments, the Judge smiled, and said that he would give a decision later over the contempt of court charges levelled at the Ministry by the MCAST lecturer.

Last June, following court proceedings instituted by Peter Gatt, the Court ordered MCAST to halt the transfer of the lecturer and decided that he was still to be considered as a member of the MCAST staff. 

Despite these clear instructions, the College’s head, James Calleja, sent a letter to Gatt informing him that he was not a lecturer any longer and that his salary won’t be paid any longer.

This was already in contempt of court and separate court proceedings are ongoing.

To add insult to injury, earlier this month, senior Education Ministry officials, on the instruction of Permanent Secretary Frans Fabri, called Gatt and ordered him to start reporting for work at the Ministry. This order was following in writing by an e-mail.

Court documents showing the order issued by the Education Ministry

However, since the latest order was also considered to be in contempt of the court order, Gatt again was constrained to seek court protection.

This led to the Education Ministry making a spectacular U-turn, while attempting to ‘convince’ the court that its “order” was not to be taken as such.

‘Vindictive persecution’ continues after Gatt revealed irregularities

The Shift is informed that despite the clear court order that Gatt should still be considered an MCAST lecturer, the authorities continued a ‘persecution’ exercise against him.

Gatt, although still attending to his daily duties at MCAST’s campus, was once again allocated no students to teach and he is still not receiving his salary.

The continuous deprivation of Gatt’s rights is considered by his lawyers to be “in contempt of court”.

Issues started after lecturer exposed wrongdoing

Peter Gatt – a geologist and considered to be one of the most qualified lecturers at MCAST – became a target after reporting to the Education Ministry and MCAST’s administration a series of alleged irregularities within the college, involving public funds. 

His reports included questionable processes in the way syllabi of MCAST courses were being commissioned from and drawn up by unqualified persons. He also exposed alleged ‘rackets’ involving lecturers and members of the administration with regards to allowances relating to additional teaching schemes and research hours.

While MCAST has not yet investigated these allegations, the college instead penalised Gatt, depriving him of lecturing duties and asking for him to be transferred away. This last was successfully ordered, with the consent of the Prime Minister.

Gatt’s transfer, however, was later blocked after he challenged it in court, in a case that’s still ongoing.

Meanwhile, after investigating Gatt’s complaint, Education Ombudsman, former Chief Justice Vincent De Geatano, upheld the lecturer’s case and described MCAST’s actions as “an oppressive act tantamount to degrading treatment”.

MCAST’s Principal James Calleja denies all claims of discrimination or vindictiveness, but has so far failed to explain why his college is insisting on Gatt’s transfer and denying him his salary.

Featured photo: MCAST Principal James Calleja and Education Ministry Permanent Secretary Frans Fabri


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9 months ago

Issa naraw kif ser jiddeciedi l-Imhallef Toni Abela !!! Tghid id-decizjoni tieghu ser tkun biased jew jissuggerixxi xi tip ta’ konpromess halli ma jpoggiex lil Gvern f’sitwazzjoni mbarazzanti

R Pace Bonello
R Pace Bonello
9 months ago

The ministry of education tasked with educating our children and help building their backbones is full of labour henchmen/women who are vindictive, ignorant and like their Party AFRAID OF THE TRUTH.

9 months ago

So these two Education ministry officials, Mary Scicluna and Emile Vassallo tried to entrap Peter Gatt to work at the ministry against his will. The Court confirmed this.
This form of entrapment is dishonest and reflects badly on their character. Will the education perm sec Fabri take disciplinary action against the two ministry officials who are embarrassing the Public Service? Or will he defend them and defend the corruption that Peter Gatt is trying to expose at Mcast?
The persistent persecution of Peter Gatt by Fabri and Calleja shows that the level of corruption is considerable, or else why would they go to this extent to destroy him?

robert smith
robert smith
9 months ago

Another blatant impunity. Big up to this teacher that stood his ground, despite having no salary and job suspension. Malta needs more courageous people like him.

Last edited 9 months ago by robert smith
Melissa Joan Bagley
Melissa Joan Bagley
9 months ago

Where do they get these legal arguments?

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