The politically appointed chairman of the Malta Medicines Authority, Anthony Serracino Inglott, has put new Labour MP and former Mosta mayor Romilda Baldacchino Zarb onto the payroll of the state agency.
A former One TV presenter, Baldacchino Zarb, 41, joins a number of colleagues roped in by Serracino Inglott including the daughter of Mosta MP Anthony Agius Decelis, the son of Health Minister Chris Fearne and the wife of former Labour Mtarfa mayor Daniel Attard.
Serracino Inglott has been facing criticism from the industry for his handling of the MMA, which the 77-7ear-old professor has led for more than a decade,
Although Serracino Inglott refused to answer questions about Baldacchino Zarb’s recruitment, The Shift can confirm that she was given the job of pharmacist a few weeks before the general elections – Baldacchino Zarb was Mosta mayor at the time. She was elected to parliament for the first time in March.
At the MMA, Baldacchino Zarb was assigned a job that remains unclear, with director Louise Grech as her line manager. Grech is the sister of the chairman’s long-time partner Lilian Azzopardi.
“This is the latest of a series of politically-motivated appointments made by Serracino Inglott. As you can imagine, Romilda was very busy during the electoral campaign and rarely spent time at her desk. Still, all was ok for the chairman,” a senior MMA official told The Shift.
Apart from her new job at the MMA, Baldacchino Zarb is also a director at her father’s business, Emy’s Enterprises Ltd, a health food provider.
Up to March, Baldacchino Zarb had only worked for a couple of years as a pharmacist soon after she graduated, years ago.
Despite industry concerns, Serracino Inglott has been retained on a €63,000 annual financial package and receives various other government handouts through other appointments, including Chair of the Malta National Laboratory.
The MMA now falls under the remit of Tourism Minister Clayton Bartolo who is yet to appoint a new board or reconfirm Serracino Inglott in his position.