The Governor of the Central Bank, former finance minister Edward Scicluna, is refusing to answer questions on whether Amanda Muscat, the girlfriend of Tourism Minister Clayton Bartolo, was seconded to the ministry from the Central Bank.
The Shift revealed last week that the tourism minister’s girlfriend was given a phantom government job as a person of trust at the Gozo Ministry, in a deliberate attempt to save the minister from an investigation on unethical behaviour, as happened with former education minister Justyne Caruana and Daniel Bogdanovic.
The Shift is informed that Muscat is originally an employee of the Central Bank and may still be on its books. But the Central Bank Governor refused to reply to questions.
Scicluna blocked all information about Amanda Muscat, claiming that “these questions cannot be acceded to since the Bank is precluded at law from disclosing personal data”.
Legal sources told The Shift that Scicluna’s reply “is just an excuse” as the name of an employee is not considered to be private data and does not fall under GDPR rules.
The shift has now filed an official FOI request to obtain the necessary information.
Multiple senior government sources informed The Shift that Muscat was employed at the Central Bank a few years ago as a clerk and was promoted rapidly to an assistant to one of the deputy governors and put on a salary grade of a supervisor.
In 2020, when Clayton Bartolo was made parliamentary secretary for financial services and the digital economy by Robert Abela, Muscat immediately joined his private office as his personal secretary. The sources also confirmed that Bartolo started dating Muscat soon after she started working for him.
Despite the clear ethical problem that developed by having a cabinet member in a formal relationship with his private secretary, Bartolo still kept Muscat in his office and only decided to take action when Justyne Caruana was in the eye of the storm.
In a clear attempt to avoid any media attention over his personal situation, Muscat was shifted to the Gozo Minister’s private secretariat on a person of trust basis. The communications aide at the ministry denied this despite clear evidence being published.
Muscat never turned up for work at the Gozo Ministry, according to colleagues, but kept providing services at her boyfriend’s ministry, including his constituency office.
Asked last week about the latest ‘abuse’ by one of his cabinet members, Prime Minister Robert Abela declared that “the issue was closed” and claimed that the Minister’s girlfriend is no longer working at any government ministry.
So far, neither the prime minister nor Minister Bartolo has replied to questions on where Amanda Muscat currently working. And neither would the Central Bank Governor.
Independent candidate Arnold Cassola has asked the Standards Commissioner to investigate the case.