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Health Minister ‘nothing to do’ with consultants’ nominations

Health Minister Joe Cassar. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

Health Minister Joe Cassar. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

Health Minister Joe Cassar said he was not responsible for the controversial decision to nominate four medical consultants to posts they were not eligible to occupy.

The minister told Magistrate Francesco Depasquale that he ended up like “Pontius Pilate” in the middle of the debacle when he had nothing to do with the decision to nominate the doctors.

He was testifying on Friday in the libel case he filed against the Labour Party over reports on One News regarding the selection processes for medical consultants.

Dr Cassar said he relied on a three-man board to choose the consultants who fell under the Public Service Commission.

The case revolves around a decision last year to nominate four medical consultants for vacant posts despite the fact they did not meet eligibility requirements.

A judicial protest soon followed, filed by three doctors who called for the selection process for a designate consultant surgeon, in which the Education Minister’s son-in-law, Robert Cuschieri, had placed first, to be annulled and relaunched, claiming that he was not eligible to apply for the call.

Replying to questions about this, Dr Cassar told the court that the eligibility of appointees fell under the Public Service Commission and not his ministry. He said that although Dr Cuschieri was not a registered specialist, he was a specialist and he always knew him as a resident specialist.

The minister said that it was up to the selection board, and not up to him, to establish whether or not Dr Cuschieri was a specialist.

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