Foreign Minister Ian Borg’s aide and advisor Jesmond Zammit has been fined €1,200 and has had his trapping licence revoked for two years after admitting in court on Wednesday to illegal trapping charges.
Ian Borg’s long-time right-hand man had been apprehended on 26 March last year by members of the Environmental Protection Unit (EPU), who detained the minister’s aide in a field in Ghar Lapsi, Siggiewi, on suspicions of illegal trapping.
The EPU was acting on a report from the eNGO Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS).
At the time transport minister, Borg repeatedly has since flatly refused to comment on the incident involving his closest aide and person of trust. Both he and Zammit have been stonewalling questions from The Shift for over a year about Borg’s chief canvasser and advisor’s arrest.
Pictures of the incident sent to The Shift last year show police officers approaching a man, allegedly Zammit, as he was arranging illicit clap nets. The nets were confiscated, and the man was interviewed by the police.
The incident has now been confirmed with Zammit’s sentencing on Wednesday.
Just this week The Shift reported how 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.
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.
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 with the transgressions of his advisor.