Cannabis boss Mariella Dimech on €82,000 a year

Freedom of information request reveals details of latest contract with Saviour Balzan's sister, who has already benefitted from deals negotiated by her brother with the government in the past

 

Tista’ taqra l-artiklu bil-Malti hawn.

Mariella Dimech, a former activist against the legalisation of cannabis use, has been hired on an 82,000 financial package by the government to act as the first executive chair and CEO of a new government agency regulating the use of cannabis.

Handpicked by Minister Owen Bonnici, without a call for applications, Dimech has been given a three-year contract to manage a new law legalising the drug.

According to her contract, seen by The Shift, Dimech will answer directly to the minister and will be earning a basic salary of more than 64,000 a year. Yet her take-home pay, funded by taxpayers, will catapult to a staggering 82,000 a year through a series of perks, including a performance bonus of almost 10,000 a year, apart from other generous allowances covering her transport, communications and entertainment expenses.

Dimech will be occupying a double role, that of CEO and chairman of an authority yet to be set up. Her contract does not stipulate who determines her annual performance and the payment of her 10,000 annual bonus. Sources close to the government told The Shift that, initially, Dimech’s performance will be evaluated by the minister.

Apart from setting up the new Authority, which will be tasked with regulating the use of cannabis, including awarding licences to newly formed organisations involved in growing and selling the drug, Dimech’s authority will also be required to monitor the effectiveness of this legislation on society and gauge whether it leads to an increase in social problems.

Dimech became a psychotherapist after graduating from the University of Malta as a mature student.

Dimech started her work life as an air hostess in Saudi Arabia. After working for a short time in the tourism industry, she joined the leading provider of drug rehabilitation services, Caritas Malta, as a facilitator and progressed to overseeing rehabilitation programmes for drug users. At the time, she opposed the legalisation of cannabis, insisting publicly that the drug’s legalisation would be harmful to society.

Dimech has also presented a number of state-sponsored TV discussion programmes on PBS, produced by her brother Saviour Balzan.

To date, Mariella Dimech is the only full-time employee of the cannabis Authority, while the government-appointed board includes Janice Formosa Pace, Nadine Brincat, Sina Bugeja, Charles Cassar, Gabriel Farrugia, Paul Micallef, Charles Scerri and Joe Reno Vella.

Caritas rejected an invitation from Minister Bonnici to nominate a director on the board on the basis of its opposition to the law enacted by the government last January.

                           
                               
guest
14 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
carlo
carlo
1 month ago

CONTINUITY – SHAME ON THE MUVUMENT KORROTT

David Gutteridge
David Gutteridge
1 month ago

How can this person be worried about the increase in the cost of living? Mafia state

Carmel Callus
Carmel Callus
1 month ago

X’ma jivvotawx Labour bil-qalb…dawk l-eluf kollha u gahan icacpilhom.

Carmel Callus
Carmel Callus
1 month ago

Salaries, benefits etc for Chairpersons, directors and CEOs of government entities should be established by law.

Winston Smith
Winston Smith
1 month ago

The irony, she told us that no one will be profiting from the cannabis reform.

Greed
Greed
1 month ago
Reply to  Winston Smith

Nobody except politicians and the big business men. With SB and OB her pedigree to suck the tax payers teats are impeccable

Kenneth
Kenneth
1 month ago

Well deserved. Congratulations for respecting good people. For those idiots complaining… Would you rather have an unpaid person who to make up for her lack on income makes shady deals and stupid decisions like most of our politicians ?! Let her do her job properly and respect it, that’s the only way this policy will be introduced to our society the correct way.

Ġwanni Fenek
Ġwanni Fenek
1 month ago
Reply to  Kenneth

A not-so-transparent contract given to someone that was handpicked by a minister for a position that had no public call for applications is well deserved? This same person opposed the legalisation of marijuana yet accepted the position anyway (by contrast, Caritas refused to have a representative on the board on account of being against the legalisation). And most importantly, the same person just so happens to be the sister of a very busy PR consultant for a number of ministers—the same PR consultant attempting to discredit The Shift and whose contracts with the government are being obfuscated via devious legal action that attempts to undermine the authority of the Data Protection Commissioner and drain The Shift’s resources.

But no, let’s respect good people.

Greed
Greed
1 month ago
Reply to  Kenneth

What makes u so sure there still won’t be shady deals? Aren’t OB and SB shady, she is in good company?

Cellinu
Cellinu
1 month ago

So, the 10K bonus depends on how quietly smokers do their thing ? Or is it based on how much home grown weed progresses ?

makjavel
makjavel
1 month ago

And the government is getting into a National debt of €1200 MILLION every year .
Highway robbery of the Public’s Savings ????

Teddy Cilia
Teddy Cilia
1 month ago

She must be really high now (pun intended) on such a salary scale; well higher than that of a Minister’s.

Vicky Frendo
Vicky Frendo
1 month ago

Dirty money talks. What a sad siuation we are in. No morals at all.

Joseph
Joseph
28 days ago

Bil-barka ta’Gahan kienu u baqghu jaghmlu HNIZRIJIET LI QATT MA KONT TISMA BHALHOM. Meta ser titghallem Gahan, inti tghix hajja fil-faqar u fil-hajja mizerja ma tistax taghmel kapricc. U Fl’istess hin dawn il-gabilotti jghumu fix- XAMPANJA u jisirquk haj billi ic-cejca li suppost ituk, qed jehduha kollha huma. Meta ha tiftah mohhok jixtruk bil-karawett.

Related Stories

‘Putin’s yacht’ linked with at least 15 Malta-registered companies
A Cyprus-registered company, SCF Management Services (Dubai) Ltd, linked

Our Awards and Media Partners

Award logo Award logo Award logo Award logo