Ministers ‘mocking their code of ethics and taxpayers to fund their relatives’

Independent politician Arnold Cassola files standards complaint after The Shift exposed more cabinet nepotism


Independent politician Arnold Cassola has formally requested the Office of the Commissioner for Standards in Public Life for Miriam Dalli and Roderick Galdes to be investigated for “blatant” nepotism and breaching the ministerial code of ethics following The Shift’s report on Thursday.

The request came after Environment and Energy Minister Miriam Dalli appointed Social Accommodation Minister Roderick Galdes’ wife as a WasteServ director despite Mrs Galdes having no apparent qualifications for the role.

According to the ministerial code of ethics, ministers and parliamentary secretaries are strictly prohibited from employing immediate family members. But ministers have found a loophole and are being allowed to bypass the code of ethics by having their immediate family members employed or appointed as consultants by other ministers.

Cassola asked for the investigation into “the blatant way in which these two ministers have entered into complicity to elect family members as directors of government entities,” citing The Shift’s article.

Arnold Cassola

He went on to say that this only means that “they mock the ministerial code of ethics, they mock taxpayers, and drain taxpayer funds to fund their relatives”.

The board of which Mrs Galdes forms a part comprises seven members and five directors, who shared €82,000 in directors’ fees. Dalli also has appointed Labour MP Edward Zammit Lewis’ sister as WasteServ’s deputy chairperson.

The appointments follow a string of similar cases in what has now become common practice. These include jobs for Parliamentary Secretary for EU funds Chris Bonnet’s wife, Economy Minister Silvio Schembri’s wife, Tourism Minister Clayton Bartolo’s partner, Active Ageing Minister Jo Etienne Abela’s brother’s wife and Labour MEP Alex Agius Saliba’s wife.

Cassola’s request, sent on Thursday 2 March, was addressed to the “future standards commissioner”, owing to the fact that no one is currently occupying the role following George Hyzler being moved instead to the European Court of Auditors.

Roderick and Joanne Galdes

The government changed the law for the appointment of the Commissioner for Standards in Public Life on 27 December. Instead of the previously required two-thirds threshold, only a simple majority will be required to see the appointment approved. The government is touting the change as an anti-deadlock mechanism.

The change has been criticized by the civil society group Repubblika, which said it “will erode democracy and continue to ridicule parliament”, since it allows the ruling party to elect their favoured nominee without the need for consensus with the opposition.

The Labour Party has pushed for former Chief Justice Joseph Azzopardi to occupy the role. Azzopardi was appointed chief justice by former prime minister Joseph Muscat, serving from 2018 to 2020. He also contested a single general election as a Labour Party candidate. Azzopardi has rebuffed concerns about a lack of impartiality and denied any deals with the Labour government.

Azzopardi is expected to be elected as the new Commissioner for Standards in Public Life by the end of next week.


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Paul Pullicino
Paul Pullicino
19 days ago

They just employ the family members of each other. Fraudsters in every situation.

Michael Grima
Michael Grima
18 days ago

Unless you’re one of the official paid up members of the Labour Party, forget any possibility of be promoted in the civil or public service even if you’re lucky enough to be successful in both your GAT exam and interview!!

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