The CEO of the Manoel Theatre, Massimo Zammit, was the subject of allegations of misconduct ranging from financial mismanagement to workplace harassment and unprofessional behaviour, according to a report drawn up by an external board.

It was announced on Wednesday that Zammit was suspended on half pay, with allegations made against him referred to the police.

The decision to suspend Zammit was taken by the Manoel Theatre’s management board based on a report by an external board specifically tasked with investigating the allegations about him. The government did not say what the allegations were.

Government sources have now told Times of Malta that Zammit is facing allegations of misusing the theatre’s hospitality funds as well as other claims of financial mismanagement.

A female employee at the theatre alleged that Zammit had made unsolicited advances towards her and at least one more employee had complained of Zammit exhibiting unprofessional conduct in the workplace which made co-workers feel uncomfortable.

The allegations were made to top theatre management as well as to the ministry’s permanent secretary and to Culture Minister Owen Bonnici’s chief of staff.

It is understood that the external board interviewed several members of the theatre’s staff and drafted a report which was submitted to the ministry earlier this month.

Disciplinary board

Sources said the report recommended further investigation by the authorities and it has since been referred to the police.

A disciplinary board will be set up to consider Zammit’s case.

Attempts to reach him for comment proved unsuccessful.

The culture ministry did not respond to questions, saying that, given the matter is now being investigated by the police, it would not be prudent to comment.

“The ministry and the relevant entities have taken all the necessary action,” a spokesperson for Bonnici said.

This is the third major suspension within the cultural sector in a matter of weeks.

An official at the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra was suspended two weeks ago after he was charged with and found guilty of sexual harassment.

Last weekend, MPO CEO Sigmund Mifsud was suspended after prosecutors pressed charges against him for attempted tampering of evidence in relation to that sexual harassment scandal.

Mifsud allegedly instructed employees to keep quiet about the scandal and tried to talk the victim into changing her version of events before the matter reached the police. He denies the claims.

A court heard that the victim had reported the harassment internally but had been ignored. She eventually quit her job.

The issue has prompted the PN to call for the culture minister to resign. Bonnici has pushed back against those calls, saying he did nothing wrong. 

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