Updated 3.10pm

Frank Fabri has resigned from his post as education permanent secretary, one month after Justyne Caruana relinquished her ministerial role following an ethics probe by the Standards Commissioner.

Matthew Vella will be replacing him, the government said in a statement. Vella took on the role of permanent secretary within the Minister for Active Ageing in 2020.

The statement, issued by the principal permanent secretary's office, did not provide any explanation for Fabri's resignation. It thanked him for the "changes he brought about while he served in this post". 

While Fabri has resigned as permanent secretary, he remains a civil servant. Sources said that his new role has yet to be determined. 

Prior to becoming permanent secretary in 2017, Fabri served in several roles within the education department, as a director-general. He also served as mayor of Rabat.  

Fabri was the subject of an internal civil service review that was assessing his role in a scandal concerning a €15,000 deal that he approved for the minister's friend, Daniel Bogdanovic. 

An ethics probe into the deal found that Bogdanovic, a footballer, had not even written the report he was paid to draft himself, and then repeatedly lied about it when questioned. Fabri had signed off on the contract.

In his report, Standards Commissioner George Hyzler also noted that Fabri had been vague in his replies and had declined to say whether it was the minister who proposed the footballer for the job.

Caruana resigned from her cabinet post 12 days later, finally buckling under growing pressure for her to shoulder responsibility. She has since started court proceedings to challenge the constitutional validity of the Commissioner for Standards in Public Life.

Parliament's ethics committee is due to begin discussing Hyzler's report on Tuesday, weeks after it was first presented to committee members. 

Fabri also faced pressure to quit from the Union of Professional Educators (UPE), which had then written to police commissioner Angelo Gafà requesting an investigation into the top ministry official.

Correction January 17: A previous version stated that the education ministry announced Fabri's departure, rather than the office of the principal permanent secretary.

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