Former transport minister confirmed as ambassador despite concerns

Former Transport Minister Aaron Farrugia has been appointed ambassador to the International Maritime Organisation following a parliamentary committee meeting that confirmed his nomination despite his seat in parliament.

Farrugia was nominated for the role earlier this month following a cabinet reshuffle by Prime Minister Robert Abela which saw him singled out as the only parliamentary member to lose his ministerial post.

It is, to say the least, unusual for a member of parliament to serve as ambassador. Farrugia will not relinquish his parliamentary seat.

He served as Transport and Infrastructure Minister from 2022 until January, and he also served as environment minister between 2020 and 2022.

The Opposition has called the post a “consolation prize” for Farrugia’s failure to retain his post as minister.

Farrugia was nominated despite successive Standards Commissioners calling for an end to the appointment of backbench MPs to government jobs and describing them as “fundamentally wrong.”

The six members of the Public Appointments Committee that approved Farrugia’s nomination voted along party lines.

The meeting also saw former Labour MP Joseph Sammut appointed as Malta’s ambassador to Tunisia in a unanimous vote.

Responding to the committee’s questions, Farrugia said he saw no issue with having concurrent roles as both a member of parliament and IMO ambassador.

He said he saw no problem with carrying both the roles of MP and ambassador, claiming previous IMO ambassadors have also been non-resident.

When asked about his thoughts on former standards Commissioner George Hyzler’s claim that such dual roles are “fundamentally wrong,” Farrugia said, “That was his opinion.”

“The standards commissioner’s recommendation was made in the context of other recommendations, such as those calling for all MPs to be full-timers, which is not yet the case,” he added.

He claimed to wish for “radical changes in how parliament worked,” but said he would retain his seat until that happened.

Calls to end such appointments for backbench MPs were first published in a report by former standards commissioner Hyzler in July 2019.

Hyzler said such appointments dilute “parliament’s role of scrutinising the executive,” going against constitutional and ethical principles.

                           

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3 Comments
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S. Camilleri
S. Camilleri
1 month ago

But we can put our minds at rest. The Ambassador does not see anything wrong.

Joe l ghasfur
Joe l ghasfur
1 month ago

Hekk sew sur kappilan , ghax ma kienx kappaci bhala ministru tat trasport issa ghamilnih ambaxatur. B min trid titnejek sur prim ministru tal korroti u l halellien

carmelo borg
1 month ago

JİTHANZER KULHADD MA NİTHANZİRX JİEN GHEDİLHOM AARON.

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