Government allowed INDIS CEO to keep working part-time for agency’s client

The Shift has confirmed that one of the top men at the government agency responsible for industrial estates and manufacturing plants, INDIS Malta, was allowed to remain on Methode Electronics’ books and be remunerated by the company despite a significant conflict of interest.

The consent given by the board of INDIS Malta also ignored Prime Minister Robert Abela’s instructions for government CEOs to no longer be allowed to hold secondary forms of employment.

But INDIS Malta gave a green light last February for Keith Fenech to continue working part-time for Methode Electronics while also serving as the government agency’s CEO, where he is earning €104,000 a year.

Methode Electronics is also one of INDIS Malta’s main clients.

It results that during Fenech’s seven-year stint as INDIS CEO, the American multinational was well-served by the government.

Between 2016 and 2023, when Fenech served as the CEO of both INDIS and Central Business District – a partnership foundation responsible for the Mriehel Industrial Estate in which the government has a 50 per cent stake – Methode acquired a new government factory and received millions of euros in tax credits.

The public areas surrounding the Methode plant in Mriehel were also significantly upgraded at taxpayers’ expense. INDIS also built a new factory for Sunshine Snacks so its former premises could be passed on to Methode.

Last June, just as all the associated transactions and work were completed, the government announced Fenech’s departure from INDIS Malta and that he would officially return to his full-time position at Methode, along with a significant promotion.

When The Shift revealed Fenech’s conflicting roles last July, INDIS Chairman Jean Pierre Attard and Methode Malta boss Stephen Rizzo did not reply to questions.

Replies to a freedom of information request for INDIS’ letter of consent that allowed Fenech to be on the payroll of both parties confirmed the conflict of interest.

In a letter dated 1 February 2023, a few days after Fenech was appointed CEO, Attard informed Fenech that the government was “pleased to advise that you may continue in such employment during your tenure as Chief Executive Officer” referring to him as a LEAN expert on a part-time basis.

Acknowledging the possible conflicting roles, Attard told Fenech that: “You shall recuse yourself from any matter relating to the Company; such matters are to be referred to the undersigned or to any other official designated for the purpose by the Board of Directors of INDIS.”

The Shift had also revealed that Fenech received the same authorisation from Central Business District Foundation Chairman William Wait. Fenech served as the Foundation’s CEO since 2016.

Industry sources deemed the latest revelations as “scandalous”

“It is obvious, at least to us, that Methode used Fenech to open certain doors,” a veteran CEO at a large manufacturing plant said. “The fact that the government allows this to happen is incredible.”

On their part, government officials justified the double role because of “Fenech’s speciality at Methode.” They insisted he had no conflict of interest since he disclosed the fact that he remained on Methode’s books, even though he was running government agencies associated with his other employer.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Related Stories

Joseph Muscat claims no need to inform the European Commission of Electrogas’ Security of Supply Agreement
During his fourth appearance before the Public Accounts Committee,
Chamber wants budget to tackle change towards sustainable economic model
The Malta Chamber – Malta’s largest representative body of

Our Awards and Media Partners

Award logo Award logo Award logo