Tista’ taqra dan l-artiklu bil-Malti
Three high-ranking Gozo Ministry officials have been charged with causing the death of Charlie Attard in March 2021 following an accident in which the 52-year-old Community Worker Scheme employee was assigned to perform maintenance work at a Dwejra public convenience that was not even covered by a permit.
The three public officers were presented in court and charged more than two weeks ago but neither the police nor the Gozo Ministry made any public announcement, and the mainstream media failed to report the news.
The Shift is informed that the three senior officials charged with involuntary homicide, among other serious criminal offences, are Vicky Xeureb, 43, from Munxar, the Director General of the Ministry; Joseph Cutajar, 43, from Victoria, the Director of the Ministry’s Eco Gozo division; and Joseph Xuereb, 54, from Munxar, a manager at the same ministry.
In addition to negligence and unprofessional behaviour which led to the death of the 52-year-old employee from Xewkija, the three senior public officers were accused of breaching laws related to health and safety, including not performing any risk assessment prior to the work assigned to the employee, and not providing the necessary health and safety gear.
The Shift is informed that no action has been taken against the three officials despite specific public service rules which oblige the ministry to automatically suspend officers facing criminal charges.
The three public officers are known to be close to Gozitan ministers in the Labour administration and are putting pressure on the OPM not to invoke their suspension in accordance with the Public Service Management Code (PSMC).
While Vicky Xuereb and Joseph Cutajar are close to Minister Clint Camilleri, Joseph Xuereb, a former nursing aide, became a manager at the Gozo Ministry when Anton Refalo took charge in 2013.
The deceased employee was a member of the Community Workers Scheme, a government scheme aimed at providing work to jobless persons, which is managed by a General Workers Union foundation for a fee. None of the foundation’s officials have been charged so far. GWU President Victor Carachi sits on the board of the foundation as a director, alongside other union officials.
The charges date back to March 2021 when Attard died after being buried alive in rubble following the collapse of the roof of a Dwejra public convenience in San Lawrenz, where he was working.
A magisterial inquiry carried out by Magistrate Bridgette Sultana found negligence on part of the employers and ordered charges to be filed against several government officials alleged to have been responsible for Attard’s death.
Last August, The Shift reported that police had yet to act on the magistrate’s orders some 17 months after the accident and the conclusion of the inquiry.
Not long after our story was published, the police issued the charges against some of those implicated in the tragic accident.