€1m in ‘habitual’ overtime, allowances at Gozo ministry’s phantom jobs division

The Auditor General was refused information on €800,000 in unexplained allowances.

 

Tista’ taqra dan l-artiklu bil-Malti

An investigation by the National Audit Office has found the Gozo Ministry Strategy and Support Division paid almost a million euro in overtime and allowances in 2021 for claims that were “vague” and “habitual”.

The NAO found the reasons being given for the overtime at the division of nearly 800 workers, including those employed by the ministry in public cleansing and maintenance, were “generic, raising doubts on whether all overtime was justifiable and suggesting that extra work at the Ministry for Gozo was possibly being considered as an extension to the respective officer’s basic salary.”

A total of €956,120 was spent in 2021 on overtime and allowances among the employees of the division – 35 departments and sections, including the Maintenance and Restoration Directorate, Construction and Maintenance Unit, Public Cleansing Section and the Roads Section – which was 53% of the entire ministry’s overtime and allowances budget.

Jobs at the maintenance and cleansing departments within the Gozo Ministry are notorious as phantom job vote reward centres, where very little to no work gets done in the first place.

Now the Auditor General has found “overtime was carried out habitually, very often with vague justifications given for its requirement” and with a total lack of control.

It also found attendance sheets supporting overtime claims were completely “unreliable” and said it “cannot comfortably conclude whether the sampled officers were accurately paid for the overtime that they claimed”.

Urging the ministry to look into whether “continuous overtime work is attributable to underperformance during normal office hours and act accordingly”, the NAO recommended that, from now on, the ministry exercises “full control on overtime work, which is to be resorted to only in exceptional circumstances and, as far as possible, linked to ad hoc assignments with specific targets to be reached”.

Where overtime work is deemed routine, the ministry should “consider revisiting current work practices and seek alternatives which would still be efficient, but at the same time more economically beneficial”.

The NAO said along such lines, consideration should be given to the redeployment of employees to other departments and vice versa depending on seasonal requirements, as well as shifting working hours to prevent overtime abuse.

The NAO recommended the ministry ensures from now on that all officers accurately record their attendance on a daily basis, as outlined in the Public Service Management Code (PSMC):

“All details are to be clear and legible. The information held, especially that relating to overtime, is to be reviewed judiciously and certified correct by a responsible officer, independent from the officers signing for the same records. Action is to be taken against those officers who try to abuse.”

No information on €815,000 in allowances

On €815,000 paid out in allowances at the division, the Auditor General could not determine what they were for or where they went.

The NAO could not carry out any verifications on the already vague claims because “the required documentation was not made available for audit purposes… notwithstanding reminders”.

Nor was sufficient information provided on overtime rates and payments, while some of the officers sampled by the NAO “carried out overtime work considered as being outside their normal responsibilities and not in consonance with their job titles”.

These included a photographer with the Cultural Heritage Directorate who performed overtime as a Head Beach Supervisor, while an Assistant Foreman and Technical Officer at the Public Cleansing Section carried out additional work at the Civil Abattoir and also as a Beach Inspector.

In all cases, the NAO found the officers were paid overtime based on their respective daily hourly rates. But auditors could not establish if that rate was correct or whether a lower rate in line with the PSMC should have been applied, “as information requested on the applicable salary scale for the assigned overtime jobs was not received during the audit”.

The NAO has made the somewhat obvious recommendation along such lines that the ministry ensures that “if overtime is really necessary, officers are paid at the correct rate and that each payment is supported by computations for audit trail purposes”.

                           
                           
                               
guest

20 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Out of Curiosity
Out of Curiosity
23 days ago

When it comes to overtime with the Government this has to be planned ahead, and forms filled in with names and jistifications, to secure the approval of the Permanent Secretary before overtime actually starts.

saviour mamo
saviour mamo
23 days ago

Don’t forget Gozo is a republic for itself and the general election was approaching.

John
John
21 days ago
Reply to  saviour mamo

Sure it’s to-morrow

M.Galea
M.Galea
20 days ago
Reply to  saviour mamo

As if Malta is any different!!

John C.
John C.
23 days ago

Serq, qerq u mbrolji bla misthija. Il-ministeru ghal Ghawdex gabuh bejta tal-hallelin.

ISTHU JEKK TAFU!

Mariatheresa Micallef
Mariatheresa Micallef
23 days ago

Clyde Caruana should scan your website daily, to be able to learn from where he can nip and save millions!

Joseph Tabone Adami
Joseph Tabone Adami
23 days ago

The regal sum of 956,120 Euros paid in undocumented ‘allowances’ and ‘overtime’ – for want of better classification – for a workforce of 800 people equal almost 1100 Euro per person in a whole year. That constitutes what Italians call ‘la tredicesima’.

It also means that all the workers involved were at their job for long hours after their scheduled time there expired.

And we are expected to believe that – seeing that most workplaces looked abandoned to the average visitor to Gozo for long hours even at the times that work was supposed to be carried out there.

It seems the Auditor has definitely not believed it!

Last edited 23 days ago by Joseph Tabone Adami
J. Degabriele
J. Degabriele
23 days ago

Barefaced robbing of national assets.

ac.sm
ac.sm
22 days ago

Make every vote count.

David
David
22 days ago

The abuse in this Ministry is so big. Overtime is a tip of an iceberg. Government and what they call Scheme workers do not even report to work. They do not even know where is their place of work. Instead they go and do other jobs off the books / unaccounted / unregistered / illegal / and stealing work form the registered Gozitan self employed persons. This Ministry should be called the Ministry of the Black Economy. Money Laundering is at is best. From top to bottom, Shame on them All. Clyde open your eyes please . Gozo is being let down. It has never been in such a poor state.

John C.
John C.
22 days ago
Reply to  David

So true

Jason Zammit
Jason Zammit
22 days ago

What the actual Fork? And then the Gozitans get all defensive when they are the butt of all Maltese jokes on cheapness, inbreeding and general wheeling and dealing! The island is completely lawless. From speed cameras being removed to special subsidised rates for EVERYTHING. Insomma, do we expect any better? I have been proudly told of how individuals work government jobs that they barely show up for whilst working evenings in hospitality! Zero accountability.

David
David
22 days ago
Reply to  Jason Zammit

Spot on Mr Zammit. Gozo is Lawless. Besides speed cameras that does not exist, Transport Malta close both eyes for VRT station inspections on heavy vehicles and trucks and other 20 plus vehicles which are not road worthy. So Corrupt. Besides that they rarely do spot check or road blocks. When they do them everyone in Gozo would know 2 days before that the officials of TM are coming. So corrupt ! Unbelievable but true. Policemen do not even have breathalyzers. Gozo is a total disaster. Shame on the opposition that is fast asleep. Thank you to The Shift Team which investigate. Keep it up.

Mario Delicata
Mario Delicata
22 days ago

In the meantime those who are responsible for such theft get away it it….as usual.

E Borg
E Borg
20 days ago
Reply to  Mario Delicata

Who is the boss of the Gozo Ministry? oh that’s right the minister for Gozo. do you think he is going to do something about it? Keep on dreaming……..

John
John
21 days ago

The Country is rich there’ no problem.

Annie
Annie
21 days ago

Definitely 2 rules, one for a transparent business and the government. If I fail to provide ANY details during an audit, I’m risking the business being fined or even closed down. I have always said that the only way to stop the rot within government agencies is to employ non Maltese, nepotism is rife on the island, no wonder when overtime is money stolen from tax payers, to line a family members pocket, with no repercussions! The whole department should be sacked and closed down for misappropriation of government funds.

Emmanuel Borg
Emmanuel Borg
20 days ago

Check out the 8pm news on TVM, half of it is about promoting other tvm shows, and foreign cultural activities. Are these journalists that incompetent or is it that the government dictates what is aired and what is kept hidden from public view.

Belinda Mifs
Belinda Mifs
20 days ago

Corruption from top to bottom left to right the Maltese islands are in a very sorry state

Michael Borg
17 days ago

I don’t think that Gozo will ever need to apply for Independence. It already appears to be a x’ala l-mouse ‘republika’ to the North of Malta.

Related Stories

Court confirms Lino Cauchi butchered in political murder, 41 years later
Updated to include the Cauchi family’s appeal for the
Identity Malta CEO’s army colleagues given part-time roles at the agency
Several Armed Forces of Malta soldiers known to be

Our Awards and Media Partners

Award logo Award logo Award logo