Clayton rewrites history – Kevin Cassar

Minister Clayton Bartolo was asked in parliament how Pierre Fenech could possibly be simultaneously occupying two CEO posts – one at the Institute of Tourism Studies (ITS) and another at the Mediterranean Conference Centre (MCC), which both fall under Bartolo’s ministry. Bartolo was asked to publish the contracts of Fenech’s dual CEO posts.

Bartolo flatly refused to do both. He won’t publish Fenech’s contracts.  And he won’t explain how one man could possibly carry out the role of two CEOs at the same time. That’s nothing new.  Labour’s default position is secrecy.

We’re not surprised that Bartolo’s hiding the facts – embarrassing and damning as they are. But Bartolo went one step further.  He misled parliament, and the nation.  He rewrote history, all for the sake of protecting Pierre Fenech.

“Mr Fenech took the helm of ITS at a moment when it was at risk of losing its license…he inherited an institution that was neglected for years by the previous administration and the proof of this is the critical reports of the NAO and a follow-up report from the IAID,” Bartolo claimed.

But Fenech was only appointed executive director of ITS on 25 March 2015 – two years after Labour came to power.  And he wasn’t put there to fix the neglect of previous administrations.  He was appointed to fix another Edward Zammit Lewis scandal.

The previous executive director, Henry Mifsud, as is common with Labour’s political appointees, had suspended himself from the role. He was accused of making ITS staff prepare food using ITS resources for his own private parties. When students and parents complained, Mifsud retaliated by harassing lecturers and chefs, ordering car searches and forcing them to sign declarations.

Taking a leaf out of Pyongyang’s playbook, students who criticised the ITS management were coerced into making an apology and were threatened with disciplinary action. Then Tourism Minister Zammit Lewis, who had appointed Mifsud, ignored all the complaints until the Opposition called a press conference about Mifsud. Zammit Lewis’ ministry refused to reply to questions about Mifsud’s alleged abuses.

That same day, Mifsud was called to a meeting at the Tourism Ministry.  After a heated argument, Mifsud went out on sick leave and subsequently requested his self-suspension. He left behind him total chaos at ITS.  ITS even risked losing EU funds for skills training for Gozo tourism workers. Study programmes for students joining ITS were not even available.

Mifsud had previously been kicked out of Bank of Valletta after he was caught taking home bottles of spirits belonging to the bank.  He had previously been recalled from his posting in Australia where he faced allegations that money and cheques he was given to deposit in a client’s accounts had disappeared. Daphne Caruana Galizia had also reported on allegations of sexual harassment against Mifsud.

But Edward Zammit Lewis appointed Mifsud Executive Director of ITS on 1 October 2014.  Despite Mifsud’s colourful past, Zammit Lewis announced that, “Mifsud is best suited as the Executive Director at ITS…..he is an asset to the Institute”. Less than six months later Mifsud was forced out in disgrace.

Zammit Lewis’ permanent secretary wrote to the IAID, (Internal Audit and Investigations Department) to look into the serious allegations against Mifsud. That IAID investigation was carried out in 2015.  But Zammit Lewis kept the report secret. He claimed that he couldn’t publish it because of an unspecified “legal prohibition”  but claimed that the new ITS management was addressing the shortcomings identified in the report.

At least that much we know – that there were shortcomings at ITS during Labour’s administration.

That IAID report was not about “the neglected years of previous administrations” as Clayton Bartolo falsely claimed.  It was specifically about the alleged wrongdoing of Zammit Lewis’ completely inappropriate appointee and the damage he had cost ITS. Despite the scandal, despite his abuse and mistreatment of students,  Labour allowed Mifsud to return to ITS as a lecturer just three months later.

Clayton Bartolo is trying to rewrite history. He’s deceiving and fooling the nation.  He’s misleading parliament. Why?

Because Bartolo owes Pierre Fenech. As ITS CEO, Pierre Fenech gave Clayton Bartolo’s brother, architect Gilbert Bartolo, a direct order to prepare architectural plans for a project at the Institute of Tourism Studies. When challenged, Fenech claimed that he was not aware that the architect was the brother of the Minister responsible for ITS. But he went a step further.

He falsely claimed that the direct order was given before Bartolo became a minister. But Clayton Bartolo had been a minister for over nine months when the Planning Authority application for the project was submitted.

Well, you’re bound to make mistakes if you’re doing two CEO jobs.

Fenech recruited disgraced former permanent secretary Frank Fabri as the new general manager of the so-called ITS Training Institute with a better financial package than what he had as a permanent secretary. Fabri had been involved in the Justyne Caruana-Danjel Bogdanovic scandal. At ITS, Fenech gave Fabri his reward for covering up for Justyne Caruana at the Standards Commissioner’s investigation. Pierre Fenech refused to publish a new contract, sparing his Labour masters’ blushes.

Fenech’s wife Romina is a close friend of Michelle Muscat. She too benefited from Labour’s largess, having been put on the board of directors of state entity Mediterranean Offshore Bunkering Co Ltd.

Pierre Fenech has refused to answer questions about his remuneration for the two CEO posts.  The two entities, ITS and MCC, have turned down The Shift’s freedom of information requests to publish his contracts.

And now Minister Clayton Bartolo turns down parliamentary questions about Fenech.

But that wasn’t enough. Minister Bartolo is now resorting to distorting facts, twisting reality, and rewriting history. He’s misleading parliament and deceiving the nation. George Orwell warned in his novel 1984 “who controls the past controls the future”.

We cannot let them control either.


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1 month ago

The shadow PN of this minister should put this documents in Parliament as proof that the Minister lied to Parlament and requests the Speaker to take disciplinary action against the minister. Giving False Evidence in Parliament is perpetuity.

joe tedesco
joe tedesco
1 month ago


I. Gatt
I. Gatt
1 month ago

Minister Bartolo should revert to doing what he knows best, and that’s driving speedboats……!

Carmelo Borg
1 month ago

Fenech GHANDU partime ta magician hi habbat l istikka fuq kappel u johrog CLAYTON BARTOLO min that il kappel ha ha

Out of Curiosity
Out of Curiosity
1 month ago

Unfortunately, this is what Labour knows to do best:- deceit, cover-ups, continuous scandals, sharing power with notorious parasites, misuse of public funds, exploitation of public land, and serious crimes.

1 month ago

Misleading parliament is the new norm !!

1 month ago

Why do people ever vote for tits like Bartolo?

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