Jonathan Cardona has been transferred back to his former government role selling Maltese passports after being fired from his role at Enemalta on the instructions of Prime Minister Robert Abela following an unprecedented power outage crisis in the summer.
Cardona has now been appointed Chief Executive Officer of Community Malta Agency, responsible for selling Maltese passports. He previously held the same position until 2021, when he was handpicked by Energy Minister Miriam Dalli for the Enemalta job despite not having any experience or relevant skills in the energy field.
The remuneration Cardona has been given is as yet unclear.
In August, Abela immediately blamed Cardona for the electricity grid meltdown and ‘humiliated’ Dalli – at the time touted to be challenging his leadership – by ordering her to remove her chosen CEO after less than two years in office.
Cardona, a former classmate of disgraced former prime minister Joseph Muscat, was put in charge of selling Maltese passports, a project introduced by the Labour Party shortly after they came to power in 2013. The European Commission has since slammed the scheme, and Malta’s refusal to shelve it has resulted in legal proceedings in the EU.
Shortly after being appointed to his passport-selling role, he recruited his friend Monica Farrugia, a member of the Labour Party Executive, to assist him. They travelled internationally, spending hundreds of thousands of euro on expenses while selling passports to shady millionaires from Russia, Asia and the Middle East.
In 2021, as soon as Cardona was made CEO of Enemalta, on a package of €160,000, he again recruited Farrugia as its executive director with a salary of €105,000 a year. At the same time, Enemalta posted more than €30 million in annual losses.
Following his recent premature departure from Enemalta, Farrugia lost her post and was given a consultancy post with Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri.
Whether the government also paid Cardona a severance package to terminate his job at Enemalta is as yet to be established.