I refer to the article ‘OPM had “ordered the promotion” of suspended fisheries director’ (February 14).
For clarity’s sake, one needs to highlight the serious shortcomings in the article.
Andreina Fenech Farrugia’s appointment as director general was terminated in 2011 with the Public Service Commission’s approval. Back then, no reasons were given nor were any charges ever brought forward against her, so much so that she kept her financial package.
She then went on to head a similar function in regulation and enforcement within the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority. Her new remit was approved by the then prime minister.
Barely a year later, in December 2012, Fenech Farrugia was appointed director (European affairs) within the Ministry of Education. Her appointment was also approved by the Public Service Commission and, yet, again endorsed by the then prime minister.
In 2013, the incoming administration appointed Fenech Farrugia as acting director general of fisheries and aquaculture. This appointment was also approved by the Public Service Commission, which was still made up of the same members appointed by the previous administration. She was appointed acting director general on the basis of her academic qualifications and certification in regulatory functions.
One should point out that Fenech Farrugia’s appointment was also acknowledged in a court sentence in October 2017 during a case which former permanent secretary Christopher Ciantar made against the Prime Minister, the Principal Permanent Secretary and the Attorney General.
The court explicitly noted that Fenech Farrugia was the more qualified person to hold the position of director general, in terms of her qualifications and international experience. The court also noted that there was nothing irregular in her appointment.
As soon as reports quoting intercepts emerged, Fenech Farrugia was suspended by the line ministry’s permanent secretary, in conformity with the public service’s and Public Service Commission’s regulations.