Government factories boss kept on Methode’s books, no explanations given

A scandal is brewing over a suspicious double role played by a top government official that exposed him to potentially massive conflicts of interest and disturbed a long-established level playing field among manufacturing industry investors.

The Shift can report that both the Prime Minister and Economy Minister Silvio Schembri were given reliable information many months ago that politically-appointed INDIS Malta CEO Keith Fenech continued working as a consultant for Methode Electronics while also leading the government industrial parks agency.

No action has been taken over the claims.

But in a sudden development a few weeks ago, Schembri announced that Fenech would be leaving the post at the end of June because he was “given a prestigious position with a multinational manufacturing firm”.

The Shift is reliably informed that this ‘prestigious position’ is a senior job at Methode, where Fenech worked for 19 years until 2016 when he was made CEO of the Central Business Foundation – a co-funded government agency that looks after the Mriehel industrial estate’s upkeep.

Methode’s Malta plant is also located in Mriehel.

Methode insiders told The Shift that despite his ‘departure’, Fenech never stopped acting on behalf of the multi-national firm and was regularly present at the company’s offices.

Only a few months ago, when still INDIS CEO, Fenech was also seen participating in a Methode training session in Belgium together with Methode employees.

Asked to confirm that Fenech had been kept on the company’s books while also being employed in a full-time key government position related to the manufacturing industry, Methode’s Malta chief Stephen Rizzo did not reply despite various reminders.

Rizzo, described as a close friend of Fenech, also declined to state whether the INDIS Malta CEO was being remunerated for his unofficial role at Methode while working for the government.

Rizzo is also refusing to explain Fenech’s role, if any, in the allocation of a new factory to Methode or to explain his presence in Brussels.

Questions sent to Fenech and Minister Schembri have also remained unanswered.

During Fenech’s absence from the company between 2016 and June 2023, insiders said that Methode benefitted significantly from government grants and investments.

While during Fenech’s time at the Central Business District and INDIS Malta, the public areas next to Methode’s plant were significantly upgraded at taxpayers’ expense, Methode also negotiated and acquired a new government factory adjacent to its current plant to expand its operations.

But for that to happen, the government had to spend millions of euros on a new factory for Sunshine Snacks, which was occupying the building next to Methode, which currently employs around 1,000 workers and exports nearly all of its products.

INDIS Malta committed to more millions of funds for the new Methode building which will replace the existing factory.

Insiders also confirmed that Methode continued to negotiate and receive millions of euros in tax credits from the government as part of the public ‘investment’ (subsidies) into the manufacturing industry.

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2 months ago

Thanzru la l-poplu gifa. Hallelin ta flus il- haddiem onest.

Galea robert
Galea robert
2 months ago

He is the owner of Zmerc Pub from Hal Balzan and also the kit manager of Malta’s national team I noticed him by the sidlines in Malta s last match against Ukraine. He was also a former player as well.

2 months ago

Dan jaf li trading in influence hu reat punibbli bil-habs?

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