Julian Fearne, 28, the son of Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne, has already been put on a government financial package of around €40,000 a year, even though he only graduated in 2017.
Sources at the Malta Medicines Authority (MMA), the government’s regulator on pharmaceutical products, told The Shift that after being recruited as a senior pharmacist almost as soon as he finished his studies at the University of Malta, the health minister’s son was given accelerated promotion to become a Head at the regulator, barely two years from his original recruitment.
Senior MMA officials told The Shift that although a call was issued for the post of Head of Medical Devices at the Authority, staff members were informally told not to apply for the position, a top management one, as it was already taken up by the health minister’s son.
The Shift is informed that Julian Fearne was recruited by the MMA only two years after he graduated, in March 2019, for the position of senior pharmacist.
Normally, the starting position for a freshly graduated pharmacist at the MMA is a grade lower than the one given to Fearne’s son, and with lower remuneration.
Surprisingly, despite his limited work experience while working with other far more experienced MMA officials, Julian Fearne was promoted to Head in January 2021, less than two years after he started working at the Authority.
The new position, given to the minister’s son on an indefinite contract, saw his financial package increase substantially to over €40,000 a year and includes a raft of allowances, financed by taxpayers, including a car, communication expenses and other perks.
Concurrently, the young Fearne also works at a private pharmacy in Paola, his father’s political constituency.
The MMA has been run by 77-year-old government appointee Professor Anthony Serracino Inglott since 2013.
Julian Fearne is not the only one of the deputy prime minister’s children to be put on the public payroll.
Only a few years ago, upon graduating as an architect, Fearne’s daughter, Dawn, was given a €20,000 direct order to provide services for the Grand Harbour Regeneration Corporation.
At the time of the direct order, 2017, the government agency was headed by Gino Cauchi, a former Labour MP and a childhood friend of Minister Fearne.
The Shift also reported how his closest aide, Carmen Ciantar, was put on a record €163,000 financial package as CEO of the Foundation for Medical Services while conducting his personal electoral campaigns, including the one which saw Robert Abela snatching Fearne’s expected victory to become prime minister.
Fearne also appointed Ciantar as his chief of staff, breaching the recruitment guidelines of the ministerial code of ethics. The issue is now under investigation by the Standards Commissioner.
It was also revealed that Fearne appointed his political aide’s daughter, dentist Celine Camilleri Ciantar, to a committee that decides who is to be given treatment abroad, despite her lack of experience.