Carmen Ciantar’s daughter also gets job with Chris Fearne

Celine Camilleri Ciantar, 26, sits on an expert medical board that decides which patients get medical treatment abroad, despite graduating as a dentist less than two years ago.


Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne has appointed the daughter of Carmen Ciantar, his chief of staff who he also appointed Head of the Foundation for Medical Services, to sit on a very sensitive ministry board deciding on which patients get medical treatment abroad, The Shift can reveal.

Celine Camilleri Ciantar, 26, is now serving on a committee of medical experts known as the Treatment Abroad Committee. The appointment was made by Fearne, who is also health minister, despite the fact that Ciantar’s daughter graduated as a dentist less than two years ago.

The committee includes some eight senior medical consultants tasked with deciding which patients are to be sent for serious medical interventions and treatment abroad, as well as providing recommendations to the health ministry for the introduction of new services in the healthcare system.

Celine Camilleri Ciantar, daughter of Carmen Ciantar, graduated in 2019.

Medical consultants on the committee told The Shift on condition of anonymity that the young Camilleri Ciantar, who was also put on the government’s payroll as a dentist in the health service soon after she graduated, has absolutely no experience in the treatment of patients abroad and her presence jars with the rest of the professionals on this committee.

“It is very obvious to us that the minister’s decision to appoint Celine (Camilleri Ciantar) on this very sensitive board was based on the closeness of Minister Fearne to her mother,” a senior consultant said.

“While her appointment was always a mystery to the rest of the committee members, the reason for her appointment has now become very clear to all of us, including senior health ministry officials, following the recent revelations by The Shift,” he added.

Fearne caught in serious breach

Two weeks ago, The Shift revealed how the deputy prime minister put his chief canvasser Carmen Ciantar on a €163,000 financial package through a five-year contract at the FMS, described by the Auditor General as “irregular”.

Ciantar, who joined Fearne’s political bandwagon in 2016 after dumping disgraced former Minister Konrad Mizzi, will see her cashing in a staggering €700,000 from taxpayer funds by 2024 on a ‘person of trust’ basis.

While rules state that political appointees cannot have contracts longer than a year, Fearne went on to appoint his campaign manager as his chief of staff while allowing her to retain her €13,500 a month remuneration – almost three times what the minister himself is paid.

This goes against the ministerial code of ethics that should be monitored by Principal Permanent Secretary Mario Cutajar.

According to the code introduced in 2014, Ciantar was bound to relinquish her post at the FMS once she was appointed chief of staff. The salary she is entitled to receive is the same as the rest of the chiefs of staff at various ministries, which currently stands at some €41,000 a year.

So far, Cabinet Secretary Mario Cutajar has refused to reply to questions by The Shift to explain why he is allowing this situation to persist despite clear rules he established in 2014.

On the other hand, Prime Minister Robert Abela has taken no action against the erring minister, saying only that he has the minister’s word that Ciantar’s contract is to be revised. Fearne told the press this will only happen at the end of her five-year contract.

Although Ciantar’s contract at the FMS is set to come to an end in 2024, as a person of trust she will have to resign by the next general elections, giving Prime Minister Abela the opportunity to intervene if re-elected.

Ciantar was given the lucrative contract, making her one of the highest paid employees on the government’s payroll, soon after she helped Fearne win the Labour Party’s deputy leadership race.

Standards Commissioner probe may backfire

Soon after The Shift’s revelations and calls by the opposition for the prime minister to intervene and stop this scandalous contract, Carmen Ciantar announced that she had asked the Standards Commissioner to investigate whether there was a breach of ethics related to her FMS contract.

While this was perceived to be a political ploy, since the FMS does not fall within the Standards Commissioner’s remit, her appointment as chief of staff changes things.

Since appointing Ciantar as a person of rust and chief of staff, Fearne has become responsible for Ciantar’s contracts and actions and he will now be the subject of a possible breach of the ministerial code of ethics.

The same approach was used when former Education Minister Justyne Caruana gave a contract of much less value to her footballer friend Daniel Bogdanovic. She was forced to resign as soon as George Hyzler found a breach of ethics.

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3 months ago

Oh what webs of deceit they all weave, with seeming total impunity.

Paul Berman
Paul Berman
3 months ago

They are all the same, putting incompetent friends and relatives in jobs they are not capable of doing. FMS has fallen apart as has the administration and Karin Grech and Mater Dei

carmelo borg
3 months ago

FRearne hu SOCJALİST ferventi. İssa qabel l elezjoni lil kostitwenti tieghu ghitijhom xi ftit cejce ha jivvutawlu bhal xi rolypoly bhal ma kien jatihom silvio Parnis xi ftit laring bhal ma tathom roseyann cutajar etc etc u dawk imsieken GAHAN ittuh il one

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