Film Commissioner starts new spending spree coinciding with PL’s campaign

Film Commissioner Johann Grech continues to resist questions on public funds he was allocated for this year’s edition of the Mediterrane Film Festival as suspicions arise that the occasion will be another promotional event for the Labour Party.

The Mediterrane Film Festival, organised by Grech last year, was heavily criticised for its excessive spending and disregard for budgetary measures.

The Shift reported that the film commissioner had spent €4 million, well over the allocated budget, in five days, and no invoices were ever presented in a government so-called impact assessment.

Apart from his role as Malta’s Film Commissioner, Grech is also a core member of the team managing the electoral campaign for the governing party in the run-up to the MEP elections.

Events organised by Grech have included contractors paid tens, if not hundreds of thousands, of euro from public funds. They supply the Labour Party with services for electoral campaigns, with which the film commissioner’s events happen to coincide.

Before the 2022 general elections, Grech shut down the Film Commissioner’s office to support the Labour Party campaign while hosting the Malta Film Awards. The event placed ministers centre stage and cost €1.3 million, although the budget was €400,000.

The contractors hired for the Film Commission’s awards were those who supplied services to the Labour Party’s electoral campaign.

Once the Labour Party was safely back in Castille, no film awards were held the following year (2023).

The exorbitant payments related to the 2022 film awards were only revealed a few weeks ago as the government and the Film Commission refused to divulge any details, including to parliament, for over two years.

Grech did not reply when The Shift asked about the budget set by the finance ministry for this year’s edition of the Mediterrane Film Festival. The finance ministry also ignored questions.

While the festival is not mentioned in the 2024 budget estimates, the Malta Film Commission’s total recurrent expenditure this year stands at €1.8 million, less than half of what Grech spent on the five-day festival last year.

According to the film festival’s website, this year’s edition will be ‘larger’ than last year’s and is being described as “the place of opportunities”.

Grech also refused to state how much he has spent from this year’s budget, including the rehiring of British comedian David Walliams, who was paid over €120,000 to present the 2022 Film Awards, which were held in the lead-up to the general elections.

Grech also refused to state which tenders were issued for services procured.

This is the second time Grech is organising a Film Commission ‘event’ coinciding with an electoral campaign.

Norman Hamilton also joined the club in 2022 when Festivals Malta organised the song festival ‘Mużika’Muzika’.

Then, a stage paid for by public funds for a festival at the Ta’ Qali MFCC tent was suddenly switched to be used for Labour’s end-of-campaign mass rally, with Festivals Malta announcing a postponement of its music festival at the eleventh hour.

                           

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D M Briffa
D M Briffa
17 days ago

Go ahead. Spend freely, with our money. But be careful. At some point, you will be held to account. And then you will be bankrupted. It’s called ‘personal accountability’. Don’t try to say you weren’t warned.

Jay Ho
Jay Ho
17 days ago

I think that we should collectively either refuse to pay tax when possible, or demand a refund when taken from source until all of the accounting for all of our money stolen and misused has been presented.
400 million there, 5.3 million and counting here, 16 million (how in the world is this even possible) for a lawn with no trees that will only last the year, millions for a road in Victoria that nobody except the developers want built – the list is literally endless, and ignoring FOI requested and fobbing us all off has gone on for too long, on too many thefts.

makjavel
makjavel
17 days ago

Another one who will walk the court corridors to judgment.

Michael
Michael
17 days ago

DAN KOLLU FL-ARTIKLU HUWA KOLLU MINNU. IL-KUMISSARJU TAL-FILMS MIN DEJJEM KELLU CAPPEL WIEHED FUQ CAPPEL IEHOR TAL-FILMS. DAWK KOLLHA TA MADWARU JAFU DAN GHAL SNIN SHAH. ID-DETTALJI FINI TAL-INFIEQ HUWA DEJJEM SEGRIET MINHABBA LI DAWN IL-FLEJJES SEJRIN BANDA OHRA, F’KREDITU AL-PL JEW DIRETTAMENT F’INFIEQ KURRENTI GHAL KAMPANJA TAL -PL.

< DAN HUWA IR-RAGUNI GHALA IL KUMISSARJU TAL-FILMS QATT MA JITTKECCA MINKEJJA IL-SKANDLI.>

F’PAJJIZ IEHOR SVILUPPAT BHAL-MALTA, ARTIKLU BHAL DAN HAWN FUQ KIEN JINTUZA BIEX ISIR INKJESTA U IMBAGHAD NIES JIGU IMRESQA IL-QORTI. DAN MA JISTAX ISIR F’MALTA GHAX HEMM TANT SKANDLI TA DAN IT-TIP – IL PULIZIJA MHUX QED ILAHQU U L-ANQAS GHANDHOM INTERESS JEW MOTIVAZZJONI BIEX JINVESTIGAW.

F’PAJJIX IEHOR SVILUPPAT, SKANDLU BHAL DAN FEJN UFFICJAL PUBLIKU QED JONFOQ FLUS TAL-POPLU GHAL-PARTIT POLITIKU, HUWA RAGUNI LI JAQA GVERN SHIH GHAX IL PRIM MINISTRU JAF X’INHU JIGRI.

HEMM BZONN PARTIT FL-OPPOSIZZJONI AKTAR ATTIV. SFORTUNATAMENT MALTA, MINKEJJA QEGHDA FL-EWROPA, DEJJEM SER TKUN FIL-VERITA PAJJIZ TA’ L-AFRIKA.

Last edited 17 days ago by Michael
Toni Borg
Toni Borg
16 days ago

This is the establishment Malta should get rid of once and for all!!!

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