How ‘super-CEO’ Fenech ‘facilitated’ Cutajar’s ‘fraudulent’ consultancy

‘Super-CEO’ Pierre Fenech covered and vouched for former Labour Party MP Rosianne Cutajar regarding a consultancy contract handed to her which the National Audit Office found was “backdated,” “irregular,” “contrived,” and “fraudulent”.

Fenech is concurrently the CEO of the Mediterranean Conference Centre as well as the CEO of the Institute of Tourism Studies – two unrelated roles.

Fenech, who contracted Cutajar, consistently hid her employment from oversight, diverted blame and provided contradictory information to cover for her, the report found.

The 50-page report, published on Wednesday, also found “no need” for Cutajar to be engaged as a consultant. It stated her employment “breached all” recruitment regulations, that Cutajar lied in a 2020 declaration to parliament for income generated the previous year and that she was “facilitated” by Fenech.

The consultancy contract was first revealed by The Shift in April, following leaks of chats between Cutajar and Yorgen Fenech, charged with involvement in the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.

While collecting evidence for their investigation, led by Auditor General Charles Deguara, the NAO’s questions to Pierre Fenech were met with “vague” answers, which sometimes contradicted the testimony of others queried.

The NAO said Fenech hid Cutajar’s employment from the ITS board of governors “despite the obligation at law for its involvement in such matters.”

Additionally, Fenech hid Cutajar’s consultancy from a human resources plan sent to the board just a few weeks after Cutajar was supposedly engaged.

Following a review “of all ITS Board of Governors minutes,” the NAO found that Fenech hid Cutajar’s consultancy, remaining “obscure to the board throughout her employment.”

Fenech claimed Cutajar’s duties and salary were discussed with the ITS executive management office ahead of her engagement, but the office said her employment was not mentioned or discussed in any relevant meetings.

Instead of raising the need for a consultancy with the board of governors, Fenech claimed the consultancy was “politically sensitive” and discussed the issue with Konrad Mizzi, tourism minister at the time, and his chief of staff, Kevin Borg.

Following Mizzi’s unceremonious expulsion from Labour’s parliamentary group in November 2019, Borg was shuffled around multiple ministries and government entities.

Fenech claimed that after discussing with Mizzi in April 2019, he offered the role to Cutajar, who accepted. The NAO found that Fenech also hid the consultancy from the tourism ministry’s permanent secretary, “whose endorsement was to be the first in a sequence of authorisations necessary for the institute to validate [Cutajar’s] recruitment.”

He claimed to be unaware of the requirements, pinning the blame on Borg for failing to notify him of them as “he had no prior experience of such employment.”

But Borg refuted the claims that he “referred Hon. Cutajar for appointment as consultant in a specific and direct manner” as an “idoneous candidate”.

Fenech continued to hide details on Cutajar’s consultancy throughout her employment, despite both being aware that the contract was backdated. The NAO concluded: “While the financial beneficiary of this breach was Cutajar, this was facilitated and rendered possible by the actions of [Fenech] when consenting to the disbursement of public funds he was duty bound to safeguard.”

The Shift previously revealed how Fenech makes €122,000 a year through his double government jobs and allowances. His unprecedented employments were created by Konrad Mizzi and reconfirmed by Prime Minister Robert Abela.

Current Tourism Minister Clayton Bartolo has said Fenech is not remunerated for the hours he puts in at the two roles but rather for his performance and achievements.


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Out of Curiosity
Out of Curiosity
2 months ago

But is it possible that nobody can do anything about the countless theft committed by these parasites part of the Mafia clique? I am once more calling the opposing forces of this Government to declare its authority as illegitimate, even if we have to go through tough times, but it is the only way out to get rid of this Mafia gang before bringing them to justice.

D. Borg
D. Borg
2 months ago

With such stellar track record and co-operation with NAO, the least one would expect in an European Union state, is for Mr. Fenech to be fired outright from the public posts he has been (peculiarly to put it mildly) appointed to – and him blessing his lucky stars for not being compelled to refund his remuneration.
If the Minister fails to fire him, possibly because the honourable Minister has and is doing even worse, then one expects the Prime Minister to act, and fire them both.
If the PM fails to fire them, possibly because the honourable PM is up to no good either, then one expects the Opposition to act, and file police reports and court cases.
If the Opposition fails to act convincingly, then one expects Taxpayer/Voters, to use their votes wisely, in order to eradicate this corrupt political status quo, and get honest real change agents to start cleaning the mess.

Francis Said
Francis Said
2 months ago

Then all involved in this scam should face the Law Courts for defrauding taxpayers’ and for gross incompetence. Fenech a CEO not knowing the correct procedures!!! Hahaha.

2 months ago

Every time one reads of the shenanigans of this, most disgusting government in Malta’s history, one really hopes we can dispose of it in the next GE and start bringing these criminals to book.

Michael Borg
2 months ago

There is only one solution to all these machinations…….VOTE LABOUR OUT AT THE NEXT GENERAL ELECTION.

Tony Bonello
Tony Bonello
2 months ago

What qualifications does Mr Fenech have? Shiftnews can you investigate please? Can you also investigate further his paid cruise?

2 months ago

Maybe Mr. Fenech aka Superman was too busy with his 2 full time jobs and could not keep up with responsibilities. He should be held accountable and investigated for recruiting Ms. Cutajar and for failing to follow her performance.

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