Michael Sant, the former chairman of the Foundation for Tomorrow Schools (FTS), has confirmed direct and indirect interference in the way the ‘independent’ agency was being managed during his tenure.
Reacting to an article published by The Shift in which FTS employees complained about the union’s representation, Sant targeted former Minister Justyne Caruana who, he said, was probably too busy “watching a football game or a training session” and found no time to acknowledge his resignation letter.
Sant is the brother of former prime minister and MEP Alfred Sant. He was appointed chairman of the FTS through a political appointment by then Education Minister Evarist Bartolo in 2017.
Writing to The Shift, to underline that he had already resigned from the FTS when a new controversial collective agreement for employees was concluded, Sant made it clear that he was not very happy with how the agency that administers millions of public funds was being influenced through, what he described as, external and internal pressures.
Sant resigned after less than three years at the helm. In his statement to The Shift, he quoted excerpts from his resignation letter in which he told the authorities: “I cannot accept and I cannot agree with the way the foundation is being ‘pulled’ (tinġibed) from outside and much less on the way it is being managed on the inside”.
Sant referred to the former education minister who failed to acknowledge his letter of resignation letter because she may have been too “busy at the time watching some football match or some training session” is a clear jibe at her relationship with footballer Daniel Bogdanovic, to whom she rewarded a €15,000 contract despite his lack of expertise in education.
Michael Sant was replaced by Cory Greenland – a former official of the General Workers Union.
The FTS has been in the eye of a storm for many years. While it has failed to keep up with a government pledge to build a new school every year, it was hit by major scandals and allegations of abuse and corruption during Evarist Bartolo’s time as minister.
Bartolo’s chief canvasser, Edward Caruana, is facing serious charges of bribery and corruption. Investigations found that when a new school was being built in Dingli, in which Caruana was directly involved on behalf of the FTS, the minister’s canvasser was building a massive block of flats in Rabat. Caruana, always on a government salary, did not even take out a loan for this investment.
At the time, Caruana’s brother, Joseph, was the education ministry’s permanent secretary – raising questions about whether he had informed his brother of opportunities at the FTS. Despite the controversy, Joseph Caruana was recently appointed Commissioner for Inland Revenue.