The Malta Financial Services Authority is refusing to publish a questionable arrangement to pay its retired former CEO Joseph Gavin some €65,000 for him to “give a handover” to a new acting CEO.
Finance Minister Clyde Caruana is also refusing to publish the extraordinary arrangement struck with Gavin last summer, despite a number of Parliamentary Questions that have been tabled by Opposition MP Jerome Caruana Cilia.
The Shift last month revealed how Gavin, who had stepped down from the MFSA’s top spot last summer after being absent from work for over a month, was still being paid some €11,000 a month by the financial services regulator.
When asked to explain, the MFSA declined to reply, which compelled The Shift to file a request for Gavin’s contracts through the Freedom of Information Act.
The request was, however, refused with an explanation that the information has been given in Parliament. But the fact of the matter is that no such information has been given to the House as the Opposition’s similar line of questioning has been consistently brushed off by Minister Caruana.
The MFSA, under the remit of Finance Minister Clyde Caruana, said that while it cannot publish the most recent arrangement with Gavin, citing data protection, it did acknowledge it will be paying him €65,000 for his services up until March 2023.
Stating that his original contract was terminated by the MFSA, the authority said it had entered into a back-to-back service agreement with the retired CEO “to provide advisory services in relation to the statutory functions of the Authority and in order to provide an orderly handover and conclusions of various initiatives”.
For that task, which is part and parcel of his original assignment as CEO, Gavin is receiving €11,000 a month, around €2,000 a month less than what he was being paid when he was on the job full-time before retiring.
The Shift is reliably informed that the arrangement had been demanded by Caruana in order to force Gavin out of the position.
The MFSA has not yet issued a vacancy to fill the Irishman’s now-vacant position. It has instead placed a long-time senior employee, Michelle Mizzi Buontempo, as acting CEO.
Before Gavin, when the scandal-ridden authority was forced to terminate former CEO Joseph Cuschieri’s employment following various issues, the MFSA had made Christopher Buttigieg acting CEO. This time around, another senior employee has been tasked with the interim job.
Buttigieg was never made a fully-fledged CEO. Instead, Gavin, a former general counsel for the Central Bank of Ireland, had been engaged on a €162,000-a-year contract that included a €30,000 allowance for his accommodation in Malta.