Johann Grech has been given three more years as the head of the Malta Film Commission (MFC) despite a dismal record and lack of accountability on how he spent hundreds of thousands of euros in taxpayer funds.
Tourism Minister Clayton Bartolo signed off on Grech’s reappointment shortly after the exorbitant €1.3 million cost of Malta Film Week was made public. The Minister has refused to provide parliament with details as to how the funds were spent. It is known that most was disbursed by direct order to the same suppliers used for Labour’s mass activities during the recent election campaign.
Grech will be joined by a new board that includes Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) chairman Ryan Pace, a former employee of Prime Minister Robert Abela’s private legal office; Clint Bajada, the head of Labour’s One Radio and co-owner of pro-Labour news website Strada Rjali; and Ayrton Mifsud, Grech’s current private secretary and a former One journalist.
Beverly Cutajar was appointed MFC chairperson despite having no experience in the film industry. A close associate of Pace, her human resources company ThinkTalent has received a multitude of direct orders from the MGA for providing training, strategy, and recruitment services.
Sean Schembri, who is employed full time on a person of trust basis as spokesperson for the Environment Ministry, was appointed MFC board secretary.
Johann Grech’s tenure as head of the MFC has been the focus of scathing criticism for his partisan free-spending management of the government organisation. Calls from the local film industry, including the Malta Producers Association, to remove him have been ignored by the government.