Economy Minister Silvio Schembri has moved in to take full control of how the government disposes of public industrial land by placing one of his chief canvassers and friends, Francois Piccione, as deputy chief executive officer of Indis Malta, The Shift can report.
The 31-year-old from Luqa, which is also Minister Schembri’s hometown was given the plum job by Schembri directly, just weeks after Prime Minister Robert Abela placed Indis Malta under his remit.
The move came just a few weeks before Schembri ordered the removal of architect Joe Attard from the role of CEO and appointed another friend, Keith Fenech, in his stead.
Minister Schembri has made a clean sweep at Indis Malta making sure that he is in full control of the agency which handles lucrative government land for industrial use,” sources at Indis Malta said.
Schembri, known among his colleagues for his parochial approach to politics, including a healthy dose of nepotism, already made the same move at the Lands Authority when he appointed his own chief of staff, Roberta Albanese Dalli, as the authority’s board secretary.
Schembri is currently embroiled in the controversial tender issued for some 4,000 square metres of public land in Mellieha Heights that has been left as a green lung for the past three decades, and which is now destined to be taken over by contractors close to the minister.
The 31-year-old Piccione is known to be closely involved in Schembri’s political campaign and owes his position to the minister.
Involved in the Labour student organisation Pulse in his university years, Piccione graduated in 2013 and was soon given a job by Schembri at the Malta Gaming Authority when the latter was made the parliamentary secretary responsible the same year.
In 2017, after Labour’s second electoral win, Schembri made the canvasser his policy advisor, a role he occupied for four years, where he was involved in the failed although much-hyped strategy, to promote Malta as the ‘Blockchain island’.
In February 2021, Piccione was given a new job by Schembri, with a better salary, as Chief Operations Officer at the Malta Digital Innovation Authority – which is also within the minister’s remit.
Last May, soon after Schembri’s reconfirmation as Economy Minister by Prime Minister Robert Abela, he moved the canvasser over to his new role as Indis Malta deputy CEO, further increasing his remuneration.
At the same time, Piccione kept hold of his previous job, as just three months after his departure, the MDIA issued him with a direct order for consultancy work, for which he was paid an extra €10,000 over and above his new and improved salary at Indis Malta.
These persons of trust travel like their ministers pants , used and dirty.