Joseph Caruana, who in recent years served as the Education Ministry’s top civil servant has been transferred to a senior post at the Finance Ministry, the Times of Malta is informed.
Mr Caruana’s brother, Edward, a former chief canvasser of Education Minister Evarist Bartolo, was at the centre of a fraud and corruption scandal at the Foundation for Tomorrow’s Schools and is currently under police investigation.
The new permanent secretary is Frank Fabri, a director general at the Education Ministry and a former Labour mayor.
“Mr Caruana was transferred to the Finance Ministry where he will be working under the guidance of Alfred Camilleri – the official permanent secretary at the ministry,” a senior official at the Office of the Prime Minister said.
Asked on Mr Caruana’s new position, the official said that “for the time being, he will still keep his title and has been assigned duties related to administration at the Finance Ministry”.
However, the OPM official made it clear that “the boss at the Finance Ministry, particularly in relation to budget and finance matters, remains Mr Camilleri” – one of the few permanent secretaries who was retained from the previous Nationalist administration.
Sources at the Education Ministry told this newspaper that the relationship between the Education Minister and Mr Caruana soured soon after the first revelations about the FTS debacle began to emerge.
The permanent secretary has always denied connection with his brother’s alleged ‘abuses’, even though certain payments by the FTS had to be signed by his office.
After his resignation from CEO of the FTS last year, Philip Rizzo had openly accused the permanent secretary of knowing all along what his brother was doing.
He had also accused Mr Bartolo of spending months trying to dissuade him from reporting the abuse to the police.
Last March, The Sunday Times of Malta reported that Joseph Caruana had copied confidential information to his brother, soon after he had received instructions from Mr Bartolo on overdue payments which had to be settled by the FTS.
Asked to explain why he had felt the need to copy his brother Edward with confidential information behind his minister’s back, Mr Caruana did not reply.
However, he insisted that he had nothing to hide and was ready to reply to questions put to him by the ongoing police investigation.
The police have not yet issued charges against Edward Caruana despite that the investigation has been ongoing since September last year.