Minister Ian Borg’s ‘fixer’ becomes foreign office adviser on a €68,000 salary

Minister Ian Borg’s right-hand man Jesmond Zammit, who has been embroiled in several embarrassing scandals involving the minister in recent years, has now been put on the Foreign Affairs Ministry’s payroll even though he has no knowledge or experience in diplomacy.

His appointment is ruffling feathers at the Foreign Ministry, with Zammit reportedly ordering seasoned career diplomats around on the minister’s instructions and with the Prime Minister approving a special bonus for Borg’s ‘fixer’.

That bonus saw his annual pay increase by some €20,000 through a so-called ‘expertise allowance’ generally reserved for consultants with ample qualifications and expertise in the ministry’s specific portfolio.

Senior diplomats told The Shift that Zammit is rarely seen at the office and instead influences the foreign office’s work through regular phone calls to its top officials.

One such diplomat told The Shift, “We are informed that the Prime Minister was not very happy with Zammit’s continuous close relationship with the Minister. But while giving the impression to the media that he is in control, Abela still allowed Borg to give Zammit yet another job as his adviser in an area in which he doesn’t have a clue.”

According to Zammit’s new contract, seen by The Shift, the Minister’s friend was put on the foreign office’s payroll the same day that Borg was given his new portfolio.

His contract was only signed on 10 May because of initial objections from the Office of the Prime Minister since Zammit was not considered fit and proper to advise the Foreign Ministry. Yet Prime Minister Robert Abela was constrained to give in to Borg’s demands.

In fact, Zammit’s new contract was made retroactive to 4 April, the day Ian Borg first set foot in Palazzo Parisio, which hosts the Foreign Ministry.

“Once again, despite the Prime Minister trying to clip Ian Borg’s wings, by demoting him to the foreign ministry and far removed from large tenders, he still got his way. It seems Borg cannot function without his fixer,” a senior official told The Shift.

Conscious that Zammit has no idea when it comes to diplomacy, his contract was attached to an insignificant part of Minister Borg’s portfolio, that of trade – a remit it shares with other ministries and which has no tangible output.

According to his contract, Zammit’s new job is to “maintain close liaison and provide consultancy to Minister Borg on trade and ensure that the Minister is adequately informed of emerging difficulties and opportunities within the trade areas which fall under Minister Borg’s portfolio.”

Apart from a basic salary of €41,000, Zammit was also given an additional €20,000 expertise allowance, an expense allowance of €2,000, a €4,659 transport allowance and a mobile allowance of €815 a year – in all amounting to €68,441 yearly salary.

Zammit and the Minister go back a long time and he was Borg’s chief of staff in 2013 when he was first made parliamentary secretary.

During his association with Borg, Zammit was at the centre of scandals, including a €70,000-a-year direct order given to his daughter Adreana by Transport Malta, when she was still a student; the police’s early release from arrest of Gozitan footballer Daniel Bogdanovic so he could play a match for a team Zammit coaches; and, more recently, in the Transport Malta driving tests scandal.

In its latest revelations, The Shift reported how Zammit keeps close contact with Glorianne Micallef Portelli, Ian Borg’s Head of Customer Care. Compromising messages from the latter’s mobile number, which is paid for by the foreign office, were found on the phone of Clint Mansueto – a senior Transport Malta official accused of corruption in the ongoing driving tests scandal.

Mansueto had told the police he felt obliged to recommend that certain candidates pass their tests since some of them were working at a Minister’s villa.

Ian Borg completely denies any association with the Transport Malta scandal and any of the transgressions of his advisor Jesmond Zammit.

                           
                           
                               
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Ver ver
Ver ver
15 days ago

IL-MERTOKRAZIJA HIJA TAGHNA LLKOLL

Joseph Tabone Adami
Joseph Tabone Adami
15 days ago

“Zammit was not considered fit and proper to advise the Foreign Ministry” by the Office of the Prime Minister.

YET, this notwithstanding, Robert Abela was constrained to give in to Ian Borg’s demands. Why?

Who is the boss around here? Who is the master – and who is bound to obey to higher orders yet does not?

Puzzling – were it not costing so much in public funds and, apparently causing not a little chaos at the place.

makjavel
makjavel
15 days ago

It is obvious that Robert Abela is a pawn . He is led by the nose by Muscat and the other cabinet members , especially the hard core ones , like Ian Borg. If TM is in such a mess because Ian Borg plastered it with corruption organisers , who can only keep their mouth shut , when the shit hits the fan. While now Ian Borg tours the world with a diplomatic bag in which anything goes. So did Muscat for the last three months as PM. Touring the banking centres of europe , making sure his riches are organised.

Carmel Garcia
Carmel Garcia
15 days ago

Carbon copy of Dom Mintoff and Lorry Sant in the 70’s and 80’s. Lorry Sant, the only person who kept the job of a minister all the years the Labour was in government from 1971 to 1986. Who knows why?

Last edited 15 days ago by Carmel Garcia
Godfrey Leone Ganado
Godfrey Leone Ganado
15 days ago

Ian Borg can only deny that he is Lorry Sant re-incarnated, but cannot deny that he is more bullish and arrogant than him.
He can neither deny that in the issue of corruption, he is a more qualified professor than Lorry Sant.

makjavel
makjavel
15 days ago

Ian Borg must have somebody to carry the bag for him through Diplomatic Gates. It must be getting boring.

Godfrey Leone Ganado
Godfrey Leone Ganado
15 days ago
Reply to  makjavel

Unless it carries CASH and he wants to pass the buck of a crime.

Edmund Darmanin
Edmund Darmanin
15 days ago

Every minister needs an adviser 😄😄

Noel Ciantar
Noel Ciantar
15 days ago

Ian Borg is a master of trade. Remember the land deal he made with a vulnerable old man in which he bought half a tumola (circa 600 squared meters) of land adjacent to his Santa Katerina villa – oops, I mean his 500 squared meters (inc. basement) “matrimonial home” – for only Euro 10k (plus vendor’s expenses, but only after the seller insisted he wanted 10k in his hands)?

With such trading skills, I wonder why we are paying for Mr. Zammit to provide his trade “expertise” to Dr. Borg.

Last edited 15 days ago by Noel Ciantar
simblija baby
simblija baby
14 days ago
Reply to  Noel Ciantar

Don’t you think you wasted so much energy for nothing Mr. Ciantar? Ghadek ma xbajtx lol! Mintix tinduna li qed taqa tac cajt? Ahjar tgholli jdejk ghandek xi xxomm…….PLENTY

Noel Ciantar
Noel Ciantar
11 days ago
Reply to  simblija baby

Simblija baby, Mela ma tawkx isem il-genituri?

KLAUS
KLAUS
15 days ago

Sometimes I can’t eat as much as I want to vomit:

This is a form of theft under the watch of ROBBER Abela:
Stealing the future of our children.
We get a lower standard of living and the daily lies on propaganda TV for it.

Walter Sultana
Walter Sultana
15 days ago

…and these are the people who used to accuse the party in opposition today of giving jobs for the boys!

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