The government will shortly nominate former home affairs minister Manuel Mallia as Malta’s next High Commissioner in London, Times of Malta can reveal.
Sources said the nomination comes a month before the expiry of the posting of present High Commissioner, Joseph Cole.
Mallia will have to face the new parliamentary committee for public appointments prior to taking up his new post.
Sources said Mallia has long been complaining about his stint in politics. He admitted in parliament last year that he had entered politics in 2013 “with a degree of reluctance” and warned those mulling a move into politics to weigh their decision carefully.
"I entered politics in 2013 with a degree of reluctance and it turned out that reality was different than I expected,” he had said.
Mallia, who for years was one of the closest political aides to former PN deputy leader Guido de Marco, switched political allegiances before the 2013 election and was consequently elected to parliament on the Labour ticket.
He had been appointed as home affairs minister soon after the election but was asked to resign in 2014 in the wake of a shooting incident allegedly involving his driver, former police officer Paul Sheehan.
A government-appointed inquiry by three retired judges had established that there was an attempt to cover up the shooting incident which also led to the removal of Ray Zammit who at the time was acting police commissioner. He had been replaced by the head of the Security Service, Michael Cassar, who eventually resigned too.
The inquiry had found that while Mallia was not directly involved in any cover-up, he failed when an official government statement falsely said warning shots had been fired in the air. The car Sheehan had been chasing had been hit by bullets.
In the absence of the requested resignation and as Mallia insisted that there had been no cover up, former prime minister Joseph Muscat had appointed Minister Carmelo Abela as the new home affairs minister. Barely two years later, Muscat re-appointed Mallia to the Cabinet as competitiveness minister.
Ambassador Cole joined the diplomatic corps in December 1977 and served as Consul General for Malta in New South Wales, Australia, between 1983 and 1985.
He held various positions including that of Deputy High Commissioner in London, UK, where he served from 1998 to 2001. After that, Cole represented Malta at various international forums.
It is not clear whether the government will post Cole to another country.