BCA’s first CEO reveals different views with Minister / Malta News Briefing – Friday 18 August 2023

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BCA’s first CEO reveals different views with Minister
The former Chief Executive of the Building and Construction Authority (BCA), Karl Azzopardi revealed that Minister Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi did not believe in him, when questioned regarding the conclusion of his tenure at the BCA in the middle of 2022. Mr Azzopardi was testifiying during the public inquiry related to Jean Paul Sofia’s death. While he spoke about general disagreements, the former CEO noted how the Minister appeared to renege on the previous administration’s decision to expand the workforce of the Authority, which was seen as crucial for the fulfillment of its requirement. Under further questioning, Azzopardi acknowledged the occurrence of a “constructive dismissal.” He also acknowledged that the matter is currently under consideration by the Industrial Tribunal, awaiting a resolution. (Times of Malta)

NGOs say Comino turning into dumping ground for waste

Environmental NGOs have highlighted that despite numerous assurances regarding the preservation and safeguarding of Comino, the island is progressively turning into a dumping ground for waste. These NGOs are emphasizing the need for restricted access to the island. Referring to a previous committment by the Tourism Minister to reduce deckchairs at the Blue Lagoon, the NGOs noted that while their number was reduced by 65%, they were relocated to another area on the island. (Maltatoday)

Teenager critical after Ta’ Qali fight

In the early hours of Friday morning, a 17-year-old young man suffered severe injuries as a result of his participation in a physical altercation. According to law enforcement authorities, a scuffle took place between two individuals of French nationality, aged 17 and 18, outside a leisure establishment in Ta’ Qali at 4:30 AM. Both of them were promptly transported to Mater Dei Hospital, where medical evaluation confirmed the critical injuries sustained by the younger individual. As for the second French teenager, his condition remains undetermined at this time. (Newsbook)

Morning Briefing

Iosif Galea charged with financial crime after extradition from Germany
Gaming consultant Iosif Galea, who was extradited from Germany, made a court appearance on Thursday to face allegations related to financial crime and the misuse of electronic equipment. Galea, 42, had been sought by German authorities in connection with tax evasion back in 2021. He was apprehended last year while vacationing in Italy, where he was accompanied by a group that included former prime minister Joseph Muscat. During his court appearance, Galea entered a plea of not guilty to a series of charges, which encompass money laundering, financial crimes committed as a public official, and the misuse of electronic equipment. He has been detained in custody pending further legal proceedings. In prior media reports, it was indicated that Galea was the subject of a warrant in Malta, related to an alleged scheme involving leaked information from the gaming regulatory body. (Times of Malta)

No misuse of official vehicle by Bonnet, but Standards czar calls for caution

Joseph Azzopardi, the Standards Commissioner call for increase caution in the use of official vehicles by members of the Cabinet. However, he has rejected allegations of misuse against Parliamentary Secretary Chris Bonnet. In a decision conveyed today, Azzopardi declared that the Parliamentary Secretary responsible for EU Funds did not violate regulations when he employed his official car for a vacation in Sicily. Consequently, the inquiry into this matter has been concluded. Nevertheless, the Standards Commissioner highlighted the need for ministers, parliamentary secretaries, and public officials to remain cognizant of public perception. In the absence of formal guidelines, he suggested adopting an ethically considerate stance. (Maltatoday)

Vulnerable families to receive extra COLA payment this week
Vulnerable families will be receiving an additional Cost of Living Allowance payment at the end of the week in order to supplement their income, the Social Affairs Ministry said. The Ministry said that this is part of the implementation of a Budget measure in order to help families have additional help over and above the COLA which is announced each year. The payment will be worth €2.7 million, with the government saying that this means that it has invested € 19.4 million in additional help to combat cost of living. (TVM)

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