The Malta Tourism Authority’s notorious event organiser Lionel Gerada has been ‘demoted’ from the position of Events Director to that of Artistic Director, Tourism Minster Clayton Bartolo informed parliament in what must be one of the most surreal demotions in the public sector.
In January 2022 – in the wake of a scandal in which Gerada and members of his events team were found to have stayed at a top-notch Valletta hotel, on the MTA’s bill, during a Christmas 2021 event sponsored by the Authority – Bartolo pledged disciplinary measures were to be taken.
But months later, the MTA had still not taken action and Gerada continued acting as the director of the Authority’s events section, where he is responsible for activities that are sponsored to the tune of millions of euros from the MTA’s budget.
Reminded last week about his announcement, which is now more than a year old, Opposition MP Mark Anthony Sammut asked Minister Bartolo to inform parliament whether any disciplinary action has been taken in light of Gerada’s transgressions.
In reply, the tourism minister explained that Gerada was effectively demoted a few months ago through a decision taken by the MTA’s board, which is headed by former Labour minister Gavin Gulia. He also said Gerada had been made to repay the Authority for his hotel stay.
“Gerada is currently occupying the post of Artistic Director and no longer holds any decision-making powers,” Bartolo told the House – giving the impression that the top MTA official with a criminal record had been demoted.
But MTA staff have told The Shift that this is far from the truth.
“Lionel Gerada is still in full control of the events department,” an MTA official told The Shift. “What happened was that his title was changed from Events Director to Artistic Director. No other director has been put in his stead and he is still the top official in that department.
“What the minister told parliament was surreal as Lionel is still the events boss and everyone at the MTA, including the new CEO, Carlo Micallef, knows this.”
As an MTA director, Gerada enjoys a basic salary of almost €45,000, with several allowances and perks.
The Shift recently revealed that while serving as an MTA director, Gerada is also appearing as a contact person for a private event company, WD Entertainment Group Ltd, which was set up just a few months ago.
Another MTA employee under his direction, Toyah Zammit, also appears to be collaborating with Gerada at the new private events company.
Despite the gross conflict of interest, neither the MTA nor Minister Bartolo has taken any action to address the situation.
Gerada, placed at the MTA by disgraced former minister Konrad Mizzi, has featured in a litany of stories on the potential abuse of MTA funds, including millions of euros in sponsorships, in recent years.
The bigger the crook is- perfect qualifications for an MLP placement. And the gahan keep on supporting it.
A miscalculation. The area of voters he is supposed to lure in is increasingly becoming irritated with Labour policies. What’s the point of partying when there’s nothing left to party about.
“Spoke With Parasite”
Is this a case were the Minister has lied to Parliament?
What has Mr. Speaker to say?
Can this be brought up in Parliament?
Unfortunately I have to repeat that power is now in the hands of labour parasites and not the executive anymore. Typical of the Maltese labour party, which always poses threat to our Democracy when in power. People are not realising this and we are now in a mess. To add insult to injury the Opposition is orphan of true politicians as the likes of Eddie, Guido De Marco and Louis Galea, as with their courage and vision democracy was restored in the 80s after facing the quasi-dictatorship of Dom Mintoff.
It is so blatant! Only in today’s Malta.