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PBS stays silent in row over TV presenter Vella

Presenter Norman Vella claims the decision to axe his role was political.

Presenter Norman Vella claims the decision to axe his role was political.

PBS is keeping quiet on whether it had requested TV presenter Norman Vella’s deployment at the state broadcaster to be revoked, but the Government is denying its involvement.

The news caused a stir last week after Mr Vella said the decision to stop his secondment was political. The Office of the Prime Minister insisted it was PBS that requested the revocation as the programme he presented, TVHemm, would not run in summer.

Mr Vella had said he was informed by the Office of the Prime Minister not to report for work at the station and to resume his duties at the Immigration Office.

TVHemm is a joint venture between Where’s Everybody and PBS. A civil servant, Mr Vella was seconded to PBS last year and the season’s last scheduled programme was broadcast last Friday.

An Office of the Prime Minister spokesman had told this newspaper that PBS requested the permanent secretary at the Home Affairs Ministry to revoke Mr Vella’s secondment. The permanent secretary then contacted the Public Administration Human Resources Office, which falls under the Office of the Prime Minister.

In a letter addressed to Mr Vella dated June 6, seen by Times of Malta, PBS CEO Anton Attard said a notification had been received from the Home Affairs Ministry permanent secretary that a request to the Principal Permanent Secretary of the Prime Minister had been made for Mr Vella to be transferred back to the Immigration Control Section.

Asked whether PBS made the request to the Principal Permanent Secretary of the Prime Minister, and whether the state broadcaster asked the Home Affairs Ministry’s permanent secretary to revoke Mr Vella’s secondment, Mr Attard said PBS had nothing to add.

The Office of the Prime Minister insisted that PBS informed the permanent secretary at the Home Affairs Ministry that TVHemm was scheduled to end in summer.

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