OPM spokesperson put on Project Green payroll

Melissa Vella Buhagiar has been given a lucrative new job as ‘Head Business Manager to CEO’ at Project Green by disgraced CEO Joseph Cuschieri despite lacking experience in either business or project management.

According to internal Project Green sources, the position that comes with a financial package of over €60,000 “was created for Vella Buhagiar”.

A reporter for One TV until 2013, she has moved from one lucrative government job to another since Labour returned to power, serving as Head of the Private Secretariat of Mario Cutajar, Chief Officer of servizzi.gov (a government agency which also used to be managed by Cutajar), and spokesperson at the OPM under the supervision of Chief spokesman and former Labour TV news editor Edward Montebello.

Disgraced CEO in recruitment overdrive

Sources at Project Green told The Shift that since taking office in January, Cuschieri has been stuffing the agency with managers who are paid lucrative salaries.

The sources said Cuschieri got rid of all the top managers recruited by Steve Ellul, the agency’s first CEO, and has filled the agency with employees loyal to him.

“It seems that Cuschieri is continuing on his MGA and MFSA experience, spending public money as if there is no tomorrow without any form of checks and balances,” the sources said. “We now already have a manager for every small thing and the list is getting longer and longer. Most of the new recruits given top positions are either Cuschieri’s friends or acquaintances.”

Joseph Cuschieri and MFSA Chief Legal Officer Edwina Licari

Cuschieri was forced to resign as CEO of the MFSA in 2020 after he was found in breach of ethics and contractual obligations for taking a vacation to Las Vegas with MFSA Chief Legal Counsel Edwina Licari that had been paid for by Yorgen Fenech, a businessman involved in gaming and financial services and which Cuschieri and Licari were supposed to be supervising.

A report by the National Audit Office found repeated flaws, disregard for procurement rules and abuses by Cuschieri, who signed multi-million-euro contracts without any authorisation and recruited personnel against established rules both at the MGA and the MFSA. He was also exposed for taking additional pay to attend meetings that were part of his duties.

Environment Minister Miriam Dalli felt that Cuschieri should be given another chance and appointed him CEO of Project Green.

Dalli had also given Cuschieri’s 24-year-old daughter Katrina a lucrative consulting contract just a week after she returned from her studies abroad despite having no relevant work experience. This was followed earlier this year by a €13,000 pay raise that puts the young consultant on the same footing as an ambassador, the deputy police commissioner, and the secretary to the Maltese presidency.

Dalli had worked with Joseph Cuschieri for years. Cuschieri gave Dalli, a former ONE TV reporter, a job when he was a senior manager at Vodafone, now Epic.


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J Spiteri
J Spiteri
5 days ago

And the country’s national debt goes up and up and up. Thieves the lot of them!

4 days ago

Honesty and hard work doesn’t pay on this corrupt rock.
corruption 360 degrees.

joe tedesco
joe tedesco
4 days ago


4 days ago

They are worth a bunch of lettuce leaves, Project Green and all that BS!
The merry go round of incompetents keep turning , lubricated by More National Depth and Corrupt Procedures.

Anne R. key
Anne R. key
3 days ago

““We now already have a manager for every small thing and the list is getting longer and longer. Most of the new recruits given top positions are either Cuschieri’s friends or acquaintances.”
This is a reflection of ALL government Authorities – case in point Transport Malta!

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