The president of the Malta Union of Midwives and Nurses has demanded an investigation into how personal information related to disciplinary action he was facing on misuse of public funds was leaked to Times of Malta.

He also wants a probe into how personal information found in his personal employment file had ended up in the hands of Labour Party political pundit Manuel Cuschieri.

Times of Malta revealed in August how Pace was due to face a Public Service Commission disciplinary board after a fact-finding exercise concluded that he misappropriated public funds by requesting payment for work allegedly not carried out, even while he was abroad.

The inquiring board had been set up in April after Cuschieri alleged that he had requested several hours of overtime at his workplace in Mount Carmel Hospital when he was actually on holiday in Egypt.

Cuschieri had first made the claims on his show Linja Diretta on Smash TV and threatened to speak more about the issue if it was not investigated.

The allegations had surfaced at the same time the MUMN was at loggerheads with the Health Ministry over nurses’ working conditions.

Just two days before Cuschieri’s radio programme, Pace had suspended a series of directives to nurses at health centres and at the Gozo General Hospital.

The directives were part of a widespread industrial action that the union launched in March, claiming there was no money for nurses as talks on a new collective agreement stalled.

In a judicial protest filed in court, Pace’s lawyer Chris Cilia said the information leaked to Cuschieri and Times of Malta was confidential and had been illegally transmitted to an unauthorised third party by a public employee having access to his client’s personal data and documentation held by the Health Department, in breach of the code of ethics of the Public Administration Act and other laws regulating data protection and GDPR regulations.

The protest was filed against the Health Ministry permanent secretary, Mount Carmel Hospital chief executive and data controller Stephanie Xuereb, Mater Dei Hospital chief executive Celia Falzon and data controller Joseph Debono. He said the information was leaked in breach of the Public Administration Act and the Public Service Disciplinary Regulations.

Disciplinary proceedings against him had been leaked to Times of Malta by someone who “evidently had all the relative information about those proceedings,” Pace said as he held that this was an act of contempt towards the disciplinary board that had been appointed to hear the case.

In his protest, Pace reserved the right to file court action over the data protection breach as well as file a formal complaint with the Information and Data Protection Commissioner.

In a Facebook post uploaded last month, lawyer Jason Azzopardi referred to Pace's case: “So, if you threaten the government with a strike by nurses, you are not arrested or interrogated over a €90,000 fraud which you admitted to in writing, and you are not dismissed from your government job."

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