Economy Minister Chris Cardona’s closest aides have been given new appointments, the Times of Malta is informed.
Dr Cardona appointed Mario Azzopardi, the head of his private secretariat under the previous Labour administration, as his advisor.
Dana Farrugia, his private secretary, has also been nominated board member of Malta Enterprise, the government’s agency tasked with attracting foreign investment to Malta. Her appointment was announced in The Malta Government Gazette.
This newspaper sought more information on Mr Azzopardi’s advisory role and his remuneration package but no replies were forthcoming at the time of writing.
Private secretary nominated board member of Malta Enterprise
Mr Azzopardi and Ms Farrugia were the two aides accompanying Dr Cardona on a Dubai trip last year which caused public uproar when the National Audit Office found that about €750 worth of alcoholic beverages had been consumed from the hotel’s minibar during the three-day stay.
Dr Cardona had later declared the bill was not his and Mr Azzopardi eventually took the blame and said that he would be refunding the money that had come out of public funds.
Former planning parliamentary secretary Deborah Schembri was also appointed on the Malta Enterprise board.
Dr Schembri, who failed to be elected in the last general election, has also been appointed as legal advisor to the Lands Authority, which used to fall under her direct political direction.
Lands Authority CEO Carlo Mifsud, who was appointed under Dr Schembri’s watch, has so far refused to give details about the conditions and remuneration package afforded to her.
He said her services were procured through a direct order, justifying the decision by stating that Dr Schembri was very qualified to do the legal work requested. Dr Schembri is being assisted in her work by lawyer and architect Robert Musumeci, a former consultant to her and to the Office of the Prime Minister.