The Prime Minister had been specifically warned about the sexual harassment at Transport Malta that came to light in court on Friday, along with other similar cases, a year ago in a letter delivered to him by independent politician Arnold Cassola.
A 49-year-old Transport Malta employee, Clifford Micallef, was charged in court on Friday – almost an entire year after the 22 February 2022 letter Cassola hand-delivered to the OPM – with repeatedly harassing a female colleague and allegedly threatening to throw her off Dingli Cliffs after she lodged an internal complaint about his behaviour.
Micallef, a court was told on Friday, had subjected the woman to months of harassment but heard she was frightened to report him because he claimed to wield power within TM since he was the ‘cousin’ of former transport minister Ian Borg. Borg has since distanced himself from Micallef and described him as a distant relation.
The complaints eventually reached Transport Malta’s human resources department and a police report was filed.
But in an open letter delivered to Castille a year ago, Cassola had given Prime Minister Robert Abela Micallef’s name and offered him the names of at least two other people who were harassing other employees.
But no one ever asked Cassola for the names he offered to provide, implying the situation was already known to the OPM or the warning had been completely ignored because it had come within weeks of the March 2022 general election. Either way, the lack of action meant the female TM employee endured additional months of harassment that could have been avoided had prompt action been taken.
“There are very serious cases of sexual harassment which it seems were covered up because the person is connected to the Labour Party,” Cassola warned the Prime Minister a year ago.
He added that, in addition to Micallef, there are at least two other people who have been harassing female employees at the transport regulator, “but since they are close to the Labour Party, nothing is done against them.”
Cassola had offered Abela the names of employees in question, on condition that he was ready to “clean up the shameful state that Minister Ian Borg has reduced Transport Malta to”.
The offer was never taken up.
Cassola said on Saturday, “What I wrote one year ago is still valid today: women have had to continue suffering humiliation for more months because those in power looked the other way with the excuse that we have to ‘let the institutions work’.”
Neither Abela nor his people asked for the names Cassola offered in his letter, which also blew the lid off a number of other scandals at the regulator, including the arraignment of Clint Mansueto over driving test corruption once Cassola made the letter public after a lack of action on its contents.
But it took a lot longer for Micallef to be arraigned, almost an entire year since the OPM was made aware of the situation.
Cassola had delivered the letter – which provided the Micallef’s name, nickname, town of residence and pastime – to the OPM just weeks before the March 2022 general election. Abela had at the time shirked responsibility for the allegation by saying Transport Malta was an autonomous body.
Ian Borg ‘has a lot to answer for’ – Opposition
After Micallef’s day in court on Friday, Opposition Shadow Ministers Adrian Delia and Beppe Fenech Adami said former transport minister Ian Borg “has a lot to answer for”.
They called on him to explain how a relative of his had been employed at the regulator when he was minister, when, exactly, Borg found out about the harassment accusations and how Micallef had been given a promotion and a Transport Malta car, information that emerged in court on Friday, despite the complaints that had been filed against him.
And only God knows how many more things this PM knows, but unfortunately this is how he reacts, by looking at the other side. He favours the rule of the jungle, with no possibilities of justice. He lost it all now, and is showing lack of leadership qualities on all counts. What a shame! I am only hoping that the Opposition will rise from its natural death, because this is mostly the reason why everything has gone to the dogs. Metsola, Borg, Sammut and Carabott should start working together from now as one whole team, with Metsola as leader supported by 3 vice leaders, all of which will focus on an array of areas. Start mobilising people in the streets to protest against this weak and highly corrupt government. The future is all yours.
Its appears the that the Prime Minister and the Minister are either so compromised they can do nothing or totally inept, either way both proved they are unfit and both should be removed without delay
Unfortunately, our prime minister Robert Abela is the weakest link in the government.
Talking to Abela is akin to having a conversation with a sponge.
The PM did something about it. The guy was promoted and given a company car. Is the message from the PM , Women Harassment is a qualification for career improvement with the government? The other side of the coin is that the PM does not care a hoot or the PM is not free to take action because he is compromised?
‘Transport Malta was an autonomous body’
But the connections to a PL Minister is enough to frighten female employees.
The Malta Symphonic Orchestra is also an ‘autonomous’ body and the same was going on there with the same threats dished out to female members of that ‘autonomous’ body and the PL connections, as usual came in.
The ‘Pravda tal Laburista’ is in constant denial of the facts and the misogyny that has a free hand to move is also ‘non-existing’ in their view.
PM is such an incompetent politician who lacks both the necessary foresight and leadership skills. Such a pity state for our beloved country.
Cassola should have gone to the Police and not the PM!