Finance Minister Clyde Caruana insists on not disclosing the name of an Air Malta senior official who, in 2018, was placed on a three-year consultancy at the government-owned Malta MedAir and paid €157,000 a year for a 27-hour week.
The appointment was highlighted by the National Audit Office last December. The Auditor General commented on the unorthodox consultancy contract among the airline’s expenses without naming the Air Malta official concerned.
The Auditor General said the Air Malta officer had been loaned to Malta MedAir to provide aviation and tourism advice to the CEO of the new airline, founded by disgraced former minister Konrad Mizzi in an attempt to balance Air Malta’s accounts.
Asked for a copy of the consultant’s contract through a Freedom of Information request, the finance ministry provided the document but redacted the consultant’s name with the argument that it is protected under data protection law.
The ministry said the FOI law allows for the redaction of personal data and that, as such, the consultant’s name was being withheld.
The legal interpretation that led the ministry to hide the consultant’s name is, however, deemed incorrect by legal experts The Shift spoke to, who insisted that a name is not considered personal data.
One expert told The Shift that, “This is a very broad interpretation of the law. With personal data, the legislator meant the publication of identification card numbers, addresses, telephone numbers and other personal information – not the name itself.”
The Shift has already asked the finance ministry to revise the decision and to provide a complete version of the contract.
According to the redacted contract, the mystery Air Malta senior official signed a three-year consultancy contract with Malta MedAir in October 2018, which covered the three years up to September 2021.
The consultant was expected to work only 27 hours weekly, with a remuneration of over €157,000 a year.
Apart from a €125,000 basic annual wage, the consultant was also paid a €25,000 performance bonus and annual allowances of €3,000 for health insurance, €2,000 for communication, €2,000 for fuel and a fully-expensed car.
Over and above that, the consultant was also entitled to six club class airline tickets for himself and four economy class tickets per immediate family member in economy class, every year.
The Air Malta officer’s expenses were shared between the Tourism Ministry, Malta MedAir and the Malta Tourism Authority.
Malta MedAir is chaired by PBS chairman and political appointee Mark Sammut, who also refused to reveal his own contract.
Paul Bugeja, a former Malta Tourism Authority CEO, was made the new airline’s CEO by Mizzi and was retained by the next minister made responsible for the airline, Clyde Caruana.
Political appointee- aka PL arse licker with no qualifications in the allocated job
I’m done! I work 100+ hours overtime a month and pay enough tax to pay a salary for a part time worker and the government are stealing my tax money to give to some scroat with a fake job title, … it has to stop.
On what specific law , chapter and line , of the Data Protection Act is the information refused? Can we know this?
Thought much better of this Mimister but was so wrong. He’s as bad as the rest.