Edward Caruana, currently under investigation for alleged fraud and corruption in relation to public school projects, was given a ‘super’ indefinite contract at the Foundation for Tomorrow’s Schools on direct instructions from Education Minister Evarist Bartolo.

Sources at the Education Ministry told this newspaper that Mr Bartolo’s long-time canvasser, who until March 2013 was employed as a quantity surveyor at Industrial Projects and Services Ltd – another government entity – ended up earning more than €50,000 a year through his new contract as ‘Head of Summer Projects’ at FTS.

While, according to the latest public sector schedule, a quantity surveyor is paid €22,000 a year, Mr Caruana was put on a basic salary of €34,000 and entitled to a raft of other fringe benefits boosting his financial package to over €50,000. These included an expenses-paid car car, 150 litres of fuel a month, payment of mobile telephony expenses, a performance allowance, cash fringe benefits of €5,000 a year and disturbance allowances.

In addition, the contract, signed by former FTS chairman Samuel Formosa, included a salary increase of 10 per cent every three years for an indefinite period, over and above the annual cost of living adjustment.

However, when asked whether FTS had recruited Mr Caruana following a public call, the former FTS chairman said he could not remember.

Also asked to confirm that it was the minister who had recommended Mr Caruana, Mr Formosa said: “I sincerely cannot remember such details and now, since I’m no longer chairman, I can’t confirm as I have no access to information.”

On his part, following parliamentary questions by Nationalist MP George Pullicino, Mr Bartolo said his canvasser had been employed as a person of trust at his ministry, but he later resigned to take up his new job at the FTS.

He said that his new contract at the government agency was approved by the FTS’s government-appointed board.

Mr Caruana’s contract made it clear that due to the nature of his work and contact with many developers, he could not conduct any private business.

“The employee shall not, directly or indirectly, be interested or concerned, in any way, in any other business or trade which conflicts or competes with that of the employer (FTS) except as the owner or shares in any company quoted on a recognised stock exchange.”

In summer 2015, when still an FTS employee, Mr Caruana began works at his former residence in Victoria to turn it into a massive development, while at the same time overseeing building projects in various government schools around the country. The police are currently probing the relationship between Mr Caruana’s private development – which includes six apartments and a penthouse – with works by various contractors and suppliers at various schools.

The Sunday Times of Malta revealed that just a few weeks after getting his new job at the FTS, Mr Caruana started personally distributing cheques to contractors for the work done at schools.

Until last August, Mr Bartolo’s canvasser had distributed cheques to the value of €9 million.

In an SMS message to Mr Bartolo, former FTS CEO Philip Rizzo had warned him that “someone is going to ask where from during the last two years Edward [Caruana] got circa €400,000 to build a six-apartment block in Rabat”.

Mr Bartolo has refused political responsibility and calls to resign and is insisting that he took immediate measures against Caruana as soon as he knew about the allegations.


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