British comedian and author David Walliams was paid a whopping €120,000 to host the Malta Film Awards back in January 2022, the Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation announced.
After a two-year legal battle, last month, a judge ordered the Malta Film Commission to reveal how much it paid Walliams for the lavish film awards.
"A two-year legal battle with the Malta Film Commission to get a single invoice," the Daphne foundation posted on its social media channels.
It called on the government to be completely transparent with its spending and make access to information less arduous.
The fee given to Walliams is practically double the figure earned by Prime Minister Robert Abela for an entire year. Officially, the prime minister receives a yearly salary of €63,000.
On Monday, the Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation posted that Walliams was paid 30 per cent of the original Film Awards budget of €400,000.
It later emerged that the Malta Film Week cost taxpayers a total of €1.3 million, yet details on how the public funds had been spent are under wraps.
"This means that nearly 10 per cent of the total amount was spent on just the host of the show: David Walliams... Where did the rest of the €1.3 million go?"
The commission had denied a Times of Malta Freedom of Information request for details on the cost of the glitzy awards.
It also denied a Freedom of Information request filed by the Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation specifically requesting payments made to Walliams. In the rejection letter, the film commission had cited a legal clause that the requested documents were subject to professional privilege and that their disclosure would amount to breach of confidence.
The foundation took the matter to the Information and Data Protection Commissioner (IDPC) which ruled in its favour, leading to an appeal by the commission before the Data Protection Tribunal, which upheld the IDPC ruling.
The IDPC said that the confidentiality clause in the agreement with Walliams could not be used to prevent disclosure of the amount he was paid and the Malta Film Commission had not attempted to explain or substantiate its claim that disclosing the requested invoice would prejudice its affairs or those of Walliams.
Following the Data Protection Commissioner’s ruling, the Film Commission took the matter to the civil court, asking it to annul the ruling and revoke the IDPC decision. Yet, the court rejected the film commission's second appeal, ordering the commission to release the information.
Earlier on Monday, Tourism Minister Clayton Bartolo said the financial details regarding the Mediterranee Film Festival, which took place last year, were set to be announced too.
The festival saw actors and producers flown to Malta, put in five-star hotels and treated to yacht trips and a black-tie gala film awards event at Fort Manoel, which was also hosted by Walliams. Top industry insiders told Times of Malta that the extravagant event cost taxpayers more than a million euros.