As Minister Jo Etienne Abela has taken the helm of the health ministry, replacing Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne, Carmen Ciantar’s lucrative contract at the Foundation for Medical Services (FMS) has been terminated.
The Shift had revealed her contract to be one of the government’s highest-paid advisers, enjoying an annual financial package of €163,000 since she was appointed CEO of the FMS.
Ciantar was Fearne’s campaign consultant in his bid for leadership against Prime Minister Robert Abela.
Soon after Fearne became deputy prime minister, he gave his campaign manager a €13,000 a month contract.
The contract was found to be irregular by the NAO.
After The Shift revealed the details of the contract, the prime minister had said Fearne had given him his word that his canvasser’s contract would be revised downwards once it ended.
All persons of trust submit their resignation with general elections or ministerial substitution.
Yet despite general elections in 2022, when Fearne was reinstated as health minister, Ciantar’s contract was reinstated with the same financial package.
Openly defying the prime minister’s orders, Fearne kept his canvasser in her place and re-confirmed her full 13,000-a-month financial package despite his promise to revise her contract.
Fearne pressed on with his defiance when he also gave Ciantar’s daughter, Celine, just 25, a political appointment to sit on an expert medical board deciding which patients would receive overseas medical treatment.
Following last month’s Cabinet reshuffle, Fearne was removed from the health ministry and kicked upstairs as a nominee European Commissioner. He retains his post as deputy prime minister until then.
Now, the new health minister has not renewed Ciantar’s contract. She is expected to leave her post within a few weeks.