Enemalta spent €10,000 on a sponsored interview for its CEO, Jonathan Cardona, in a UK-based business magazine just months before he lost his job.
A list of direct orders published recently in the Government Gazette shows that just a few months before Cardona was blamed for the complete meltdown of the country’s power grid and removed from office, the heavily indebted state agency responsible for power supply paid for him to appear in Business Focus magazine, which usually features top business executives.
Enemalta is losing millions of euro yearly and gets significant state subsidies to remain afloat.
In the April interview, Cardona boasted about the improvements in Malta’s electricity grid and the “upgrading of our electricity distribution network” on his watch.
Just a few weeks later, Malta suffered power outages across the country when the grid collapsed for around two weeks during the peak of summer.
Cardona lost his job on the instruction of Prime Minister Robert Abela, despite Energy Minister Miriam Dalli initially resisting instructions to remove him. He was replaced by Ryan Fava, known for his proximity to the prime minister.
It is unclear where Cardona has been offered a new position.
Meanwhile, under Cardona’s leadership, Enemalta has issued a number of direct orders to businessmen close to the government.
Matthew Bongailas, an excavation contractor who describes himself on social media as “a proud member of Robert Abela’s team”, was handed a new €200,000 direct order for “emergency on-call trenching works in Malta”.
Lawyer John Bonello, a former Nationalist Party official who addressed a Labour mass meeting in 2017, was paid a €10,000 direct order to work on unspecified encroachment agreements related to industrial estates.
Bonello has been on the public list of direct orders since 2013 and was lately installed by the government as a director of Lombard Bank.