The former commander of Malta’s Armed Forces, Brigadier Jeffrey Curmi, who in 2013 made headlines when he was given four promotions in four months by the Labour government, will now see his income double through another political appointment.
At just 47, Curmi resigned from his leadership post at the AFM, and will now receive over €115,000 a year from taxpayers to head Transport Malta for the next three years.
The Shift can reveal that according to his new contract as CEO of Transport Malta, Minister Aaron Farrugia has agreed to pay the former brigadier a basic salary of up to €90,000 a year, as well as other benefits including a performance bonus, a fully-expensed car and a full-time driver, the payment of home telephone and internet bills, a fully-paid mobile phone and related services and international health insurance.
Curmi will now see his earnings rise from some €50,000 a year as commander of the AFM to at least €115,000 a year, making him one of the highest-paid public servants on the island, being paid double the prime minister’s salary.
At the same time, having already spent 25 years in the army, Curmi will also receive a service pension reserved for retired army officers.
The former brigadier was selected for the post of CEO at Transport Malta without a call for applications.
Curmi’s move is identical to that of the former deputy commander, Mark Mallia, who also abandoned the army to be appointed CEO of Identity Malta with a financial package of over €100,000 a year.
Curmi and Mallia, known for their unwavering support for the Labour Party, hit the headlines immediately following Labour’s return to power in 2013 when the government manoeuvred to put them at the helm of the army while ousting those in command at the time.
The then Home Affairs Minister Manuel Mallia, now serving as Malta’s High Commissioner in the UK, awarded them one promotion after another, resulting in them climbing four ranks each in four months – a record in the Maltese army’s history.
Various AFM officers who held higher ranks than Curmi and Mallia at the time filed a complaint with the Office of the Ombudsman, whose investigation was, in turn, hindered by the government. The Ombudsman at the time had to resort to court to obtain the required internal documents to investigate the case.
Among those sitting on the ‘selection board’ of the fast-tracked officers were Ramona Attard, then a Labour Party TV journalist, now the President of the Labour Party and herself the beneficiary of various state handouts.
After a lengthy process, the Ombudsman concluded that the promotion was “vitiated” and “the result of a tailor-made process to achieve a pre-ordained result” and had created several other injustices among army officers.
Meanwhile, last October, former Transport Minister Ian Borg announced that Transport Malta would be split into three separate authorities: one for land, another for maritime and the third for aviation. But this split has not yet materialised, and Minister Farrugia refuses to confirm whether the government intends to follow these plans.