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PN hits out at nepotistic appointment of minister’s daughter

Opposition calls out nepotism of appointing newly-graduated minister’s daughter as local tribunals’ judge

matthew_vella
Matthew Vella
23 August 2017, 3:39pm
Owen Bonnici (right) with José Herrera (second from left).
Owen Bonnici (right) with José Herrera (second from left).
The Nationalist Party has blasted the appointment of a minister’s daughter as a commissioner for justice, dubbing it “the worst example of nepotism”.

The daughter of environment minister Josè Herrera was appointed commissioner for justice just months since her graduation.

Martina Herrera, 25, received her lawyer’s warrant in February 2017, and was approved for her two-year role as a commissioner of justice by the Prime Minister on the recommendation of Justice Minister Owen Bonnici.

“It is obvious she was selected because she is a minister’s daughter. This role is an important one in the administration of justice of our country, and only dampens further this crucial sector,” the PN said.

Commissioners for justice preside over local tribunals and decide traffic and other minor offences.

The PN added that the Labour government had placed much of the judicial arena in doubt over the past four years, after having made the PL’s former deputy leader for party affairs Toni Abela a judge of the appeals court.

Abela was made a judge after he formally applied for consideration and was vetted by a new selection board, whose establishment enjoyed bipartisan support.

“Justice must be seen to be served. These appointments only lead people to lose faith in the country’s justice system,” the PN said.

Martina Herrera was said to have been practising law at her father’s firm – Josè Herrera and Associates – in March.

The Office of the Prime Minister told The Times that Herrera was “eligible and qualified for the post which, by and large, decides appeals on fines given by local wardens. Her appointment follows normal procedures – as happens in all cases related to commissioners for justice – and [her name] was put forward by the Justice Ministry.”

matthew_vella
Matthew Vella is executive editor at MaltaToday.