MMA chief Anthony Serracino Inglott forces prime minister’s hand, blocks any possibility of replacement

Anthony Serracino Inglott, the 78-year-old pharmacy professor who has led the Medicines Authority since 2013, is resisting letting go and has manoeuvred, behind Prime Minister Robert Abela’s back, to force the government’s hand and ensure he remains in charge for a further three years.

Investigations by The Shift show that although his latest employment contract, signed in 2019, comes to an end this month, Serracino Inglott signed a new three-year contract just weeks before the last elections, to ensure he didn’t risk being replaced by a new administration.

New contract given to Serracino Inglott before the election. MMA blanked out the name of Permanent Secretary Ronald Mizzi to hide his identity

The Shift has also established that to carry out this potentially illegal manoeuvre, Serracino Ingott roped in two senior government officials, former Parliamentary Secretary Deo Debattista and Permanent Secretary Ronald Mizzi, the latter notorious for his connections with disgraced former Minister Konrad Mizzi.

The Shift has been told that both Debattista and Mizzi acted without the prime minister’s knowledge and have signed the new contract without the OPM’s clearance. According to law, it is the prime minister who must appoint the CEO of the Medicines Authority.

The issue, which is becoming highly embarrassing for the prime minister who is struggling with lack of authority, has now been handed over to Jo Etienne Abela, the minister responsible for the Medicines Authority, to “solve it”.

Government sources described the situation as “unprecedented” and said it humiliates the government and erodes its power.

“While it is clear that Serracino Inglott, together with his political accomplices, pulled a fast one on Robert Abela, it is now becoming clear that he is not welcome any longer at the helm of the Medicines Authority,” OPM sources said.

“Still, since he has a ‘legal’ contract, his sacking is not straightforward. Also, the fact that Serracino Inglott employed so many well-connected Labour employees bought him support among some cabinet members”.

Serracino Inglott, who reportedly runs the government regulator as some kind of personal fiefdom, has in recent years employed and promoted the son of Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne, the daughter of former Parliamentary Secretary Antony Agius Decelis and the wife of the Mtarfa Labour mayor, among others, as well as the sister of his partner, Lilian Azzopardi.

The Shift has also established that while Serracino Inglott’s contract was meant to end this month (June 2022), a new contract, in complete contravention of protocol, was signed on 9 February, just a few weeks before the elections, giving the MMA chief a further three years as CEO of the Authority. He will be 82 years old when the new contract ends.

To ensure a new government would have no wiggle room to replace him, his new contract names him the Authority’s CEO and not executive chairperson – a purely political appointment – as his previous contracts did. 

“It would have been easier to replace the executive chairperson as that is a political appointment. However, as CEO, it’s more of an executive position even though, even in this case, it was a political appointment,” legal sources argued.

They said that “now it all depends on the government’s will. Legally, there are still possibilities the government can use to get rid of Serracino Inglott. It’s a test of who is the real boss, either Robert Abela or Serracino Inglott,” the sources said.

According to his latest contract, Serracino Inglott will be eligible to receive a financial package of over 62,000 a year, over and above his state pension and other roles in government employment. 

Despite his advanced age, he is still lecturing at University, where the pharmacy faculty is run by his partner.

                           
                               
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VictorFormosa
VictorFormosa
1 day ago

There is nothing to say about the Labour Government any more. Anything goes. If you are well connected then you get what you want. What a disgrace. The greed of some people. At 78 and still as greedy as ever.

carmelo borg
1 day ago

Nahseb haseb ghal futur biex ikun jista ikollu biex jixtri il hrieqi miskin

Paul Bonello
Paul Bonello
1 day ago

The greed of pigs at the trough knows no limits and is infectious

Charles Spiteri
Charles Spiteri
1 day ago

Jekk jifdal xi bicca ghall-kelb ftakru fija u fit-30,000 li ghaddejjin b’salarju wiehed jew bil-pensjoni. Nixtieq xi darba jigi studjat kemm hawn Maltin li ghandhom aktar minn pensjoni wahda…. u min ta l-permess jinghatawlhom. Min mejjet ghal qatra, b’xi 12,000 ewro fis-sena u min mejjet fis-sakra b’xi 100,000 ewro fis-sena. Din gustizzja, hadd ma jwarrab minn postu u jaghti cans lil ta’ warajh? Sinjal li hemm xi IMMA.

Greed
Greed
1 day ago

This man (sic) is all that is wrong with Malta, he probably has more money than he will ever need yet the greed of the man eats and festers him for more.

carlo
carlo
1 day ago
Reply to  Greed

He intends bribing St. Peter to open the gates of heaven.

Francis Said
Francis Said
1 day ago

Hahaha, a 78 year old still needs to enjoy La Bella Vita on our expense.
What a dirty game politics and political maneuvers have reached.
Hekk but his long time partner eggs him along and still lectures at University.
Probably he lectures professional conduct and ethics!!!

Last edited 1 day ago by Francis Said
carlo
carlo
1 day ago

GREED GREED AND MORE GREED – CORRUPTION, CORRUPTION AND MORE CORRUPTION. An example set by the most corrupt pm Malta ever had. L’aqwa li hrigna mill-greylist. SHAME.

Kizzy
Kizzy
1 day ago

… couldnt be bothered to wear his mask properly 😡

KLAUS
KLAUS
1 day ago

It is really nice to see once that also ROBBER Abela is so publicly fooled and that is certainly only the tip of the iceberg!

There are certainly many skeletons in the closet of ROBBER Abela, so he will keep his mouth shut here to not endanger himself.

J.B
J.B
21 hours ago

Dan fuq erba’ irid johrog mill-Medicines Authority.

Robert
Robert
1 hour ago

The guy is obviously the pharmacist of Malta. At 78 and 82, we are sure to be governed in a modern way, enjoy the latest pharmaceutical innovations. No wonder why one needs a license to import pharma products to sell it to pharmacies. A little protected market violating EU regulations.

Last edited 1 hour ago by Robert

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