Speaker decides minister made a ‘mistake’ when withholding information on MGA direct orders

Further digging reveals additional direct orders about which parliament was never informed

 

Speaker Anġlu Farrugia has ruled that the wrong information submitted to parliament by Economy Minister Silvio Schembri and the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) was ‘not intentional’.

Last week, the Speaker promised to investigate a complaint by MP Ryan Callus following revelations by The Shift that the MGA had not disclosed the correct information to parliament on direct orders issued by the Authority.

The Shift showed how a number of direct orders were left out of the information tabled in parliament. The newsroom had confronted the MGA on this, and the Authority was forced to state it had made ‘a mistake’.

The Speaker has accepted this position as fact, even though the missing invoices were substantial.

In his ruling given on Monday, Farrugia concluded that while it was true that the minister had left out several direct orders from the list he gave to parliament, the information had already been made available through another parliamentary question answered by disgraced former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat more than three years earlier.

Yet the PQ to which the Speaker referred was based on a completely different question to the one made in parliament now – MP Ryan Callus asked for a list of all direct orders given by the MGA between 2013 and 2021, while the PQ quoted by Farrugia and answered by Muscat had referred to consultancy contracts given by the Office of the Prime Minister.

The Speaker has repeatedly come under fire for his failure to sanction government ministers and MPs for breach of rules.

Following The Shift’s revelations, proving with documentary evidence that Minister Schembri and the MGA had hidden information from parliament, further investigations show that there are other direct orders and payments, dished out by the MGA that still did not make it to the latest list given to parliament.

Apart from lucrative direct orders given to labour pollster Vince Marmara, government PR consultant Saviour Balzan, through his newspaper Malta Today, and Veronique Dalli, the energy minister’s sister, The Shift has information regarding direct orders given to former GWU activist Cory Greenland, consultants Beverly Cutajar, Dean Hili, Marita Pace Dimech and lawyer Carl Brincat among others.

The information withheld from parliament also includes thousands in payments given through direct orders to Ernst & Young, PR agency Striped Sox, magazine Temple Concierge owned by accused money launderer Josette Schembri, wife of Keith Schembri, and 360 legal, owned by the sister of Parliamentary Secretary Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi.

                           
                               
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Steve
Steve
5 months ago

The Speaker of the House is an absolute disgrace. Totally unfit for purpose

No regrets and no apologies at all.
No regrets and no apologies at all.
5 months ago
Reply to  Steve

Correct.He can’t even get the story right

James
James
5 months ago

And so it goes on.. no arraignments, no prosecutions, no jail terms, just an admission that yet another error was made, but nobody ever admits the error and there are certainly no consequences.

M.Galea
M.Galea
5 months ago
Reply to  James

Incredible

Paul Pullicino
Paul Pullicino
5 months ago

Tutta la famiglia!

Silvan
Silvan
5 months ago

Who approved all these “ghost” direct orders at MGA? What is disgraced Joe Cuschieri or the new CEO Carl Brincat? So Vincent Marmara was awarded a Eur 5,000 per month direct order from MGA. What for?

carlo
carlo
5 months ago

ma tistenniex ahjar minn bniedem bhal anglu farrugia. Nesa kemm hambaq uf ir-raba’ sular sakemm ghalqulu halqu. Kine veru jaf x’inhu jghid meta qal li ghandna parlament maqjel.

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