Albert Marshall, the 75-year-old Labour veteran who used to run ONE TV until 2013, is currently cashing in on at least five different government positions, according to information provided to Freedom of Information requests.
In his decade-long (and counting) tenure as Executive Chair of the Arts Council, Marshall decides who gets government funds for various cultural activities and projects.
During the last few years, Marshall’s administration of public funds has been harshly criticised by the National Audit Office, which found regular breaches of public procurement rules when dishing out millions in direct orders.
Most of these were directed to organisations and businesses that organised the electoral campaign for the Labour Party.
Now, engagement contracts obtained by The Shift through Freedom of Information requests show that as well as being on the payroll of the Arts Council, he is also on the payroll of Public Broadcasting Services, Teatru Manoel – the National Theatre, the Valletta Cultural Agency, the Valletta Foundation, and the Malta Film Commission through the Malta Film Fund.
Marshall is estimated to receive close to €100,000 a year on top of his two pensions, one from Malta and the other from the Australian government, where he lived for years.
Marshall was catapulted to the top of Malta’s public cultural administration when he took over the Arts Council as soon as Labour returned to power in 2013. During his tenure, he changed the cultural law and ‘created’ various sub-organisations under the Arts Council umbrella, putting himself and his friends on their boards.
As Executive Chairman of the Arts Council, which he leads under the direct supervision of Minister Owen Bonnici, Marshall is handed a €67,000-a-year remuneration package.
His contract states he is given a 15 % performance bonus on his full-time position, which is decided by “the chairman” of the Council – himself.
He is also responsible for permitting himself to work outside the organisation. This includes a contract as an ‘expert’ with the Manoel Theatre – another government organisation – paid some €5,000 every six months.
Among his tasks is maintaining good relations with other national cultural organisations, of which he is one of the protagonists.
The Valletta Cultural Agency, managed by Chairman Jason Micallef, who succeeded Marshall at One TV, and Catherine Tabone, an Owen Bonnici canvasser, also gave him some extra work in connection with translation services of various activities, at €5,000 each time.
His latest project was to act as a translator for a Jose Cura recital, for which he was paid another €5,000.
Through his connections with Film Commissioner Johann Grech, Marshall also sits on the Film Fund, deciding which films and productions should be getting tens of thousands, if not millions, of taxpayer money in funding.
It is unclear whether he was involved in the latest scandalous decision to grant The Gladiator sequel an estimated €47 million.
Marshall has also been on the board of the state broadcaster PBS as Deputy Chair since 2013, paid thousands for just a few board meetings each year.
Described by Arts Council insiders as “the man to go to” when in need of government help in the form of sponsorships, handouts and direct orders, officials said Marshall’s “various hats” in the same area expose him to many conflicts of interest that are in breach of his contract’s conditions at the Arts Council.