Updated with tweet by Simon Busuttil, second post by Evarist Bartolo
Education Minister Evarist Bartolo has maintained his attack on Joe Bannister, chairman of the Malta Financial Services Authority, insisting in a Facebook post today that his position is untenable because of his conflicting role as director of a collective investment scheme in the Cayman Islands, and also because he has been in his post at the MFSA for too long.
Mr Bartolo first raised questions against Mr Bannister five years ago but the MFSA chairman was still confirmed in his post by the Labour government. The Finance Minister has not yet commented on the latest broadsides, but Mr Bannister as been defended in parliament by Labour MP and former minister Charles Mangion.
"Joe Bannister cannot be the Chairman of the Malta Financial Services Authority, Malta’s single financial services regulator, and the Director of collective investment schemes in the Cayman at the same time. In addition to the IMF this is also the position of the Basel Committee of Banking Supervision (BCBS) which is the primary global standard-setter for the prudential regulation of banks and provides a forum for cooperation on banking supervisory matters," Mr Bartolo wrote.
"The BCBS – Core Principles for Banking Supervision - establish that the supervisor should possesses operational independence, transparent processes, sound governance, budgetary processes that do not undermine autonomy and adequate resources, and is accountable for the discharge of its duties and use of its resources."
For the BCBS, Mr Bartolo said, operational independence means that there is, amongst others, no industry interference that compromises the operational independence of the supervisor.
This, he said, is also the position of the European Central Bank, which stipulates that the carrying out of supervisory tasks should be free from undue industry interference which would affect a supervisor’s operational independence.
Bannister has been Chairman four times more than what is accepted good practice by the ECB- Evarist Bartolo
"The International Financial Institutions and the European Central Bank are therefore clear, being a director of collective investment schemes in Cayman is not compatible with the role of Chairman of Malta’s single financial services regulator."
Furthermore, the minister pointed out, Prof Bannister has been the Chairman of the MFSA for 20 years.
"This according to the European Central Bank may impinge on his independence from the industry. The Regulation on the Single Supervisory Mechanism stipulates that 'In order to allow for an appropriate rotation while ensuring the full independence of the Chair, the Chair’s term of office should not exceed five years and should not be renewable.”
"Bannister has been Chairman four times more than what is accepted good practice by the ECB.
"Chairman Bannister’s position is untenable."
See Charles Mangion's defence of the MFSA chairman at http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20160413/local/charles-mangion-defends-mfsa-chairman-after-evarist-bartolo-attack.608770
Meanwhile, in a second, cryptic post, Mr Bartolo said that in order to understand what is going on in public life, one needs to know the background.
"One sees someone defending somebody else, mentioning principles and seriousness, and then one finds that there are personal obligations and that the two are doing very well together," Mr Bartolo said.
He did not indicate whether he was speaking about the MFSA or politics, the Panama Papers or some other case.