Malta Medicines Authority stuffed with Labour loyalists and ministers’ children

Source within the authority flags senior positions awarded to son, daughter of government MPs


A source within the Malta Medicines Authority has flagged a series of politically-motivated appointments, including the son of Health Minister Chris Fearne, Julian Fearne, and the daughter of former Parliamentary Secretary Anthony Agius Decelis, Danika Camilleri Agius Decelis.

The source, who preferred to remain anonymous due to fear of retaliation, described how both Julian Fearne and Danika Camilleri Agius Decelis were hired as senior pharmacists, despite the availability of employees with more experience.

The source contacted The Shift after the news portal’s publication of a story in which Annalise Attard, a senior employee at the licensing department at the Malta Medicines Authority and the partner of Deputy High Commissioner for the UK and Mtarfa Mayor Daniel Attard, was given special concessions to keep her position at the authority while working remotely from London.

“We didn’t even know where she went, we found out about her departure from your website,” the source had explained when contacting this news portal.

Besides being awarded senior positions upon entry, both Fearne and Agius Decelis were also alleged to have had promotions fast-tracked. Agius Decelis was made head of the quality and and continuous improvement internal audit department, while Fearne was recently made head of the medical devices office.

The source also flagged how a recently issued call for the position of senior head within the medical devices office was largely seen by frustrated employees as a call that was kept internal specifically to ensure that Fearne would get it.

Documentary evidence seen by The Shift confirms the call was issued internally only, with the source stating that although the email does state that all interested employees can apply, there were specific employees who were turned down outright when applying for other similar vacancies in the past, while being told that the position was reserved for somebody else.

The email sent to all employees to inform them of the internal call for open positions, including the position of senior head within the medical devices office.

“He has no relevant experience for the role, he’s been there for a short time and he seems to be relatively young,” the source said. The Shift’s analysis of the source’s claims indicates that Fearne is 28 years old. Besides the fast-tracked promotions, the source stated that within the past five years, there was a concerted effort to centralise certain departments to fall directly under the remit and control of the authority’s chairperson, Anthony Serracino Inglott.

While specific bodies such as the licensing, post-licensing and enforcement directorates of the authority have existed since its inception, the source explained that three of the departments falling under the chairperson’s office, namely the quality and continuous improvement internal audit unit, the medicines and intelligence access unit, and the medical device support office, were all created within the last five years.

“All the other departments are being ignored; there is no ongoing training, no career measurements, it’s all stagnant. There’s a lot of complaining and demotivation because it’s not nice to see other people’s careers shooting up so quickly while others are struck where they are,” the source stated.

The Malta Medicines Authority falls under the remit of Parliamentary Secretary for Consumer Protection and Public Cleansing Deo Debattista, with the authority’s main job being to assess medication and ensure it is compliant with safety standards.

According to the source as well as social media posts which strengthened their claims, several employees were hired due to their closeness to Debattista.

Specific individuals named by the source include Domenique Zammit, one of Debattista’s former canvassers, and Louise Grech, who at one point had occupied the position of Debattista’s chief of staff. Another person, Mario Gauci, was appointed directly to the chairperson’s office “to help with IT issues” in spite of the fact that a head of IT already exists within the authority’s structure.

The Shift’s previous investigations have regularly yielded evidence of state appointed bodies being abused to reward party loyalists with cosy jobs, multiple directorships on various boards and decision-making bodies, and other forms of employment such as direct orders for questionable services.

A cross-ministry investigation and round of questions sent to every ministry about how many people are employed in which roles in all 550 state-appointed bodies under a total of 21 ministries had been met with a wall of silence from every single government spokesperson.

The Shift has sent questions to Debattista’s official spokesperson about the claims made by the source and on what grounds the positions awarded to each individual cited in the article. The questions were redirected to the Malta Medicines Authority, and remain unanswered at the time of writing.


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Pauleen Micallef
8 months ago

Unfortunately this is reality and it will go on forever. We never have the most qualified and eligible candidates who are in key positions. It is the same old cliché of whom you know which makes me sick!

Carmen Serracino Inglott
Carmen Serracino Inglott
8 months ago

More of the same. Corruption galore. Addio Malta. The continous greed stinks. How can people like these sleep well?

Mario Camilleri
Mario Camilleri
8 months ago

Malta is the land of incompetency! Banana Republic

8 months ago

It has been like that for many many years.Infortunately it will remain like that for ever.It is not what you know but whom you know.Lost faith in this country of ours.

joe tedesco
joe tedesco
8 months ago


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