Former General Workers’ Union general secretary Tony Zarb has been given a consultancy job at the Tourism Ministry.

Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi said Mr Zarb, who landed himself in a controversy recently after posting provocative remarks on social media about slain journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, was acting as his consultant on a part-time basis.

In his reply to a written question tabled in Parliament by Nationalist MP Karol Aquilina, Dr Mizzi did not give details on the sort of consultancy services Mr Zarb was giving.

Tony Zarb has been given a consultancy job at the Tourism Ministry.Tony Zarb has been given a consultancy job at the Tourism Ministry.

Times of Malta subsequently asked the ministry what was Mr Zarb receiving for his advice and in which area of expertise was he involved but no replies were forthcoming.

Mr Zarb was engaged as a government consultant during Labour's first legislature when Dr Mizzi was health minister soon after his retirement from the union's top post.

When Dr Mizzi lost his health portfolio following the Panama Papers leak, Dr Mizzi, who then formed part of the Office of the Prime Minister, still retained Mr Zarb as consultant.

The Opposition recently presented a parliamentary motion to strip Mr Zarb of his Ġieħ ir-Repubblika honour. The motion, which accused Mr Zarb of being “an apologist for murder”, was filed after he posted comments on Facebook that the most important thing about the controversy surrounding a memorial to the slain journalist was that “she never returns”.

Mr Zarb claimed his remarks were taken out of context. Prime Minister Joseph Muscat had distanced himself from Mr Zarb’s remarks, who still retained his advisory role with the government.

No replies were forthcoming when asked what was Mr Zarb receiving for his advice

Times of Malta reported last week that GWU president Victor Carachi was appointed consultant at Mimcol, the government’s investment arm, which falls under the political responsibility of Economy Minister Chris Cardona.

Questions sent to the GWU on whether it was aware that its president was on the government's payroll and whether it considered such appointment to amount to conflict of interest remained unanswered.

The union's legal consultant and member of all its commercial entities, Aron Mifsud Bonnici, is also closely associated to Dr Mizzi. He represents Dr Mizzi in court cases and also serves as board secretary of nine public entities, mostly falling under the minister’s political remit.

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