OPM also ‘helping’ with ARMS bills

Abela justifies nepotism as “part of Malta’s political system”.

 

Ministerial customer care officials, including those at the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), are ‘helping’ voters postpone paying their utility bills and avoid having their services disconnected through an intervention with ARMS Ltd, the state entity responsible for issuing Enemalta and Water Services Corporation bills, The Shift has found.

The Times of Malta recently revealed that government ministers and other officials fed names to the Transport Malta licensing director to ‘help’ them obtain driving licenses. Despite voluminous amounts of evidence, the government has denied corruption, and the police are yet to act.

According to independent MEP Arnold Cassola and information given to The Shift, the names of consumers who present their ARMS final notices to OPM officials are recommended to the state utility institution to be given a second, third, or even fourth chance to settle their long-overdue bills.

Through separate investigations, The Shift established a new ‘system’, which has been informally put in place at ARMS to satisfy ministerial demands.

How the unofficial system works

According to established rules, defaulters with pending payments of utility bills are typically given several months to settle their dues through various reminders sent by ARMS Ltd.

However, in the case of continued default, ARMS issues a ‘final notice’ warning that their electricity and water service will be discontinued if the pending bill is not settled by cut-off date.

Through a new backdoor system, defaulters who persist in not paying and receiving a final notice are now seeking the intervention of OPM and ministry officials.

The Shift is informed that customer care officials inside ministries have been given contacts of three senior managers at ARMS (The Shift is withholding their names pending documentation), very close to the Labour Party, who pressure the company’s credit control office not to enforce such final notices.

Sources say that the final decision on this ‘extra help’ is being taken by Marisa Ciappara, the Financial Controller of ARMS, who incidentally is also the Financial Controller of the Labour Party.

Apart from Ciappara, ARMS is also controlled by Chief Operations Officer Nikita Zammit Alamango, another top Labour Party official.

The Shift is informed that on some occasions, Labour MPs also call and send messages directly to Ciappara, soliciting ‘help’ for their constituents.

Marisa Ciappara – Chief Financial Officer at ARMS and Labour Party Financial Controller

Ciappara’s silence

When presented by The Shift with the information on ARMS officials tasked with ‘helping’ specific individuals and asked whether she has decided to postpone or cancel disconnection orders following ‘recommendations’, Ciappara did not respond.

ARMS Ltd officials who spoke to The Shift confidentially noted that the financial controller of the Labour Party has access to the database of all companies and business people who have thousands of euros in pending bills.

“One can only imagine why some are allowed to accumulate hundreds of thousands in dues,” the officials said.

Even the two major political parties and their commercial arms, including their loss-making TV stations, are known to have hundreds of thousands of euros in unsettled bills, yet Ciappara has not ordered their services be disconnected.

Asked to comment on her potentially conflicting double roles, Ciappara, also, did not respond.

Abela justifies nepotism as “part of Malta’s political system”

Following the latest scandals which rocked the country, related to rackets in social benefits and driving tests, the prime minister justified it as “the way the Maltese political system works”. His own secretary, Rachel Debono, was one of those facilitating the racket.

Mounting his defence during a press conference on Monday, Abela also let slip that the same is happening regarding medical appointments.

“If people come to us for assistance in medical appointments, shouldn’t we help out,” he asked rhetorically.

The Shift is informed that ministerial customer care offices – a type of mini-Labour party club inside the ministerial private secretariats – are frequently asked for assistance in jumping queues for medical treatment at Mater Dei, including operations.

                           

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Francis Said
Francis Said
4 months ago

All these arrears notwithstanding that government is heavily subsidising Enemalta and I would suppose Water Services Corporation and Enemed.
This to keep prices stable.
Whilst condoning those who do not settle their bills as due, I cannot not feel that some cannot pay their bills for the simple fact that social problems are constantly increasing and that SOME cannot make ends meet.
It should be up to Arms, if efficiently administered to make the distinction, not some Government lackey, with the Minister or Permanent Secretary or another other official within the Ministry to pressure ARMS to act in any shape or form discriminate.
But the institutions are working. NOT.

Emmanuel Cilia Debono
Emmanuel Cilia Debono
4 months ago
Reply to  Francis Said

Who said ‘the institutions are working?’ Whoever said this hackneyed expression may have meant ‘ the institutions are sleeping ‘

Francis Said
Francis Said
4 months ago

That is why I ended my opinion piece with NOT.
Institutions are not sleeping they are kept awake by this corrupt government to buy votes.

Paul Pullicino
Paul Pullicino
4 months ago

Licences, pensions, hospital appointments, electricity bills….what’s next? Medicines that are scarce or out of stock?

carlos
4 months ago
Reply to  Paul Pullicino

next in line – rush on the banks u dejjem miskin l-onest.

wenzu
wenzu
4 months ago
Reply to  Paul Pullicino

The next scandal will be the OPM “helping” people who’s vehicles fail the VRT- just watch!

Me Myself
Me Myself
4 months ago

Is Marisa Ciappara under investigation?

Pinu
Pinu
4 months ago
Reply to  Me Myself

Nispera , għax mhux sewwa li jkun hemm min jigi preferut.
Ceo ta l’arms min hu ?

A. Fan
A. Fan
4 months ago

Naional debt around 10½ billion, and counting. A big chunk of that went to buying votes for the cabal in power since 2013. Uncollected utility bills, uncollected taxes, land and other public assets given away for peanuts, and various other giveaways and rackets all add up over a decade. And there’s no end in sight for the pillage and plunder, i.e. “the Maltese political system”, as defined by the PM.

makjavel
makjavel
4 months ago

So it is official.
The Data base of Labour Tesserati and Labour voting residents take first preference in services and last on the list when legal action is taken.
This is how Labour is keeping itself out of court and out of jail.
Who is being threatened to keep his mouth shut?
Daphne was assassinated . One has been professionally knifed , enough to keep him alive and his mouth shut.
Who else is kept under legal threats if the inknown is exposed?
Will we find out how the last election was won? Gerrymandering ?

Joey Falzon
Joey Falzon
4 months ago

Local councils had an EXACT purpose, that of decentralization of power and avoid this nepotism. Labour changed all this as it thrives on feeling powerful and important…to the GAHANS!!!!!

makjavel
makjavel
4 months ago

Since the finance department of ARMS is under the control of the Labour Party , what are the possibility that the tesserati get a discount on the bill ? No wonder these tesserati claim and shout around that their bills are lower than before, while others get overcharged to balance out the discounts given to labour tesserati. The overcharge has been confirmed by the courts, yet the Minister refuses to compensate and pay back ALL that was stolen.
Next stop will be Identity Malta?

carlos
4 months ago
Reply to  makjavel

u voti lill-eluf barranin li hawn. il-muvument korrott ghandu l-makkinarju kollu f’idejh, b’hekk jibqghu jaghmlu li jridu ghaliex l-elezzjoni u l-voti korrotti f’idejhom. L-oppozizzjoni trid taqghod b’seba mitt elef ghajn kemm fl-elezzjonijiet taht Ewropa kif ukoll fl-elezzjoni lokali. Muvument korrott li jasal ghall-kollox.

Joseph
Joseph
4 months ago

Lill Kullhadd jharu jithanzer. Serq sfaccat mil-kaxxa ta’ Malta. U zghir gahan ihallas

Out of Curiosity
Out of Curiosity
4 months ago

Unfortunately there is no separation of powers between the political party and the executive of this highly corrupt government. I wonder what this weak Opposition is doing in Parliament. By now and after a litany of very serious scandals, the Opposition should have long ago declared this Government as one of an illigetimate nature, until the executive resigns to hold a very early election. Otherwise it is all theatrics and bluff.

carlos
4 months ago

EZATT.

carlos
4 months ago

zibel ta gvern u zibel min jisraq il-flus tac-cittadin onest. u jiena ma jilhaqx jigi l-kont li nhallsu fil-pront. Mafiamalta post il-hallelin u l-frodisti. il-primministr li ghandna huwa xempju tal-korruzzjoni u serq. ISTHI

Steve
Steve
4 months ago

This is institutionalized favoritism of a part of the population against the rest. Apart from cancelling any suspension of electricity (and saving on reconnection fee), most probably any interest due on overdue balances is also being reversed.

I can only imagine what is happening in hospital then, with people near the labour party skipping the line on operations while the rest will either have to wait or go to private hospitals.

Ladu Gaga
Ladu Gaga
4 months ago

Marisa Ciappara has been appointed as financial officer at Arms to carry out this task with a specific purpose.

Today, this person has ruined Arms. However, despite her unpopular behaviour, no one dares to remove her because she also holds the position of financial controller for the Labour Party.

I am familiar with it since I used to be employed there. However, like many others, I had to resign from my position.

Last edited 4 months ago by Ladu Gaga
Jane S
Jane S
4 months ago

Il bieraħ kumbinazzjoni mort l-Arms blata l-bajda , serbut ta’ nies ma jispicca qatt !

Kwistjonijiet bejn in-nies li kienu qed jistennew u storbju sħieh .

X’ħin kont lesta indunajt li ħlejt satejn ,dan biex iccekjawli kont , l -iskrivana li qditni kella tension taqsam !

Prosit Ic-Ceo l-Management għandkhom customer care tal-genn !

Last edited 4 months ago by Jane S
SMC
SMC
4 months ago

The article should have mentioned that Marisa Ciappara from Zebbug is first cousin of Carmen CIantar. Thus the power and the immunity.

Lolly Jones
Lolly Jones
4 months ago

Marisa Ciappara must resign.

The current and previous CEOs of ARMS are responsible for this chaos.

Where is the opposition on this?

Pony Express
Pony Express
4 months ago

Ara raqbilx mieghi Prim Ministru. F’kelma wahda min isib qaddis jimxi U jiehu li jrid (anke jekk bil-provi li mhux suppost) u min m’ ghandux qaddis jibqa JINHARAQ. Imma, la qedin insemmu l-qaddisin, haga wahda hemm gusta: li l-gurnata tal-gudizzju tasal ghal kullhadd.

O.Cassar
O.Cassar
4 months ago

Can the Shift check if this is also happening at the Tax Department? Are certain taxpayers being referred to persons at the top to reach an agreement about arrears and then they don’t pay and nothing happens?

S Bartolo
S Bartolo
4 months ago

Can someone confirm if Marisa Ciappara is associated with any other companies? I’m just curious!

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