Lands Authority CEO James Piscopo has been appointed chairman of ARMS Ltd, the State company responsible for utility bills.

Sources said the new post will see the former Labour Party CEO’s income increasing by some €20,000 a year.

As CEO of the Lands Authority, recruited by the government in 2018, Mr Piscopo already receives a handsome financial package, worth over €80,000 a year.

Since the last elections in 2017, Mr Piscopo, one of Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s closest political allies, has been appointed to serve on other government boards, including Enemalta and Projects Malta, a company entrusted with the running of public private partnerships under the political stewardship of Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi.

Asked to state how much he earns in total as a result of his various government appointments and different roles, Mr Psicopo did not reply to Times of Malta by the time of writing.

The interests of the water company on the board are now under-represented

Government sources said that the recent appointment of Mr Piscopo did not go down well with certain members of the ARMS board who represent the Water Services Corporation.

Automated Revenue Management Services Ltd (ARMS) is co-owned by Enemalta and Water Services Corporation through an equal shareholding.

According to the sources, the directors representing the WSC objected vehemently to the appointment of an Enemalta board member as chairman of ARMS.

They argued that the interests of the water company on the board would now be under-represented, the sources said.

The same sources said that it was ARMS CEO Silvio Scerri, a former chief officer at Transport Malta, who insisted on the appointment of Mr Piscopo.

Mr Scerri was made chief officer at Transport Malta when Mr Piscopo was its chairman between 2013 and 2018.

He left the post soon after Mr Piscopo’s departure.

Recently, Mr Piscopo was given more powers at the Lands Authority after the board was directed by the government to delegate most of its functions to the CEO’s office.

Despite resistance, particularly from chairman Lino Farrugia Sacco, Mr Piscopo got his way.

The Nationalist Party opposed the move, arguing that it was against the concentration of power and lack of transparency.

In 2018, Times of Malta revealed that following his appointment as CEO of the Lands Authority, Mr Piscopo had failed to declare his potential business interests with clients of the Authority.

It was only after questions submitted by this newspaper that the board was informed about his then connection to the shareholders of the Fortina Group.

The Lands Authority board had taken note of the situation but decided not to take any action.

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