Watermelon Production drama on TVM

The story titled 'John Bundy faced two sexual harassment claims while at PBS’ makes untrue statements regarding former director of Watermelon Media

Reference is made to a story published in the Sunday edition of MaltaToday and on the online version titled: ‘John Bundy faced two sexual harassment claims while at PBS’. The story makes untrue statements in my regard as former director of Watermelon Media.

It is categorically not true that a contract for the drama series Ħobbni Ftit (incorrectly referred to Ħobbni Int in your article) was signed between Bundy on behalf of PBS Ltd and Watermelon Media Ltd prior to the board’s confirmation of the TVM schedule. The contract for the drama series Ħobbni Ftit was signed in September 2017, contrary to the impression given in your article.

Watermelon Media tendered its proposals under the Public Statement Intent issued by PBS in January 2017 and was signaled a go-ahead for production to commence in June 2017 with all other producers.

On the 20th August PBS informed Watermelon Media and another production house that it would be shifting two of its drama series to late-viewing (22:00) in order to promote the current affairs programmes Xtra presented by MaltaToday’s shareholder Saviour Balzan and Dissett presented by TVM’s Head of News Reno Bugeja.

Since this sudden change of heart, only one month away from going on air, impacted negatively both in commercial terms and in viewership, Watermelon Media met the Chairman, the deputy chairman and PBS’ advocate to discuss the impact of such a sudden change of heart.

All drama series produced by Watermelon Media during the past years have been engaged on a joint venture basis and PBS enjoys 50% of the profits registered in all of these productions. Following these discussions, in which Bundy was not involved, the Board of Directors took the sensible decision to retain both drama series in prime-time. However, while Ħobbni Ftit retained its Tuesday slot followed by Dissett, the other drama series was shifted to Sunday while Saviour Balzan’s Xtra occupied the prime-time slot on Thursday.

As to the reference in your article to another drama series produced by Watermelon Media: Tereża, it cannot be the case that Bundy presented this option to the board because Watermelon Media was informed by its Head of Programmes in April 2017 that PBS will not take a programme that was originally airing on ONE TV. Watermelon Media had explained to PBS that ONE TV had refused the third season of the popular soap-opera Tereża but PBS still refused to enter a joint venture with Watermelon Media. The case was closed and never again considered by Watermelon Media.

Pierre Portelli,

former director

Watermelon Media Ltd


Notarial role in fuel smuggling allegations

Allow me to present you with a small clarification regarding the repeated mention of my name in the stories regarding the fuel smuggling issue.

Your article stated that, “the syndicate procured the signature of Maltese notary Anton Borg on the certificates of origin, to show it hailed from the Azzawija Oil Refining Company, a subsidiary of the Libyan national oil company” (Smuggling kingpin got Libyan politician’s ‘stamp of approval’ for fuel exports) while that from a few days back stated that my signature was procured “to show it hailed from the Azzawija Oil Refining Company, a subsidiary of the Libyan national oil company. In reality, the smuggled oil was being transhipped from one vessel to the other on the high seas.” (Debono used false certificates and Maltese notary’s signature to gain ministry stamp).

The way I am being mentioned is giving the impression that I certified the authenticity of the document when, in fact, this is not the case.

As is often done by notaries, clients come to our offices to have a certified copy of a document (passports, contracts, newspaper articles, power of attorney, ID cards, educational certificates, etc) made. My stamp and my signature do not certify the authenticity of any original documents produced by clients, but only that the photocopy made in my office was a ‘certified true copy of the original’.

In the case in question, what I did was to certify the conformity of a copy with a document shown to me; I did not certify the authenticity of the contents of the document. I had absolutely no way of knowing, or reason to believe at that point in time, that it had been faked.

This explanation can easily be verified if you look at the copy of the document itself, and what my signature and stamp are saying.

I am sure that your main interest is in publishing the truth, but the fact that the way it is being reported is potentially misleading, means that it is creating a misperception among readers, which is impacting negatively on my reputation.

I am receiving calls from people who are taking the way it is written to mean that I certified that the document in possession of the client, which we shall refer to as the ‘original’, was certified by me as being authentic. I did no such thing.

I kindly ask you to rephrase the way in which I am being mentioned in a way that reflects the truth more clearly. I have chosen to explain the facts of the matter directly to you, as I am convinced of the bona fide nature in the use of the possible mis-interpretative wording used.

I trust in your judgement and dedication to the truth to make sure that any misconception created by these potentially misleading statements, to the detriment of my personal and professional reputation, is corrected at the earliest possible.

Dr Anton Borg

Notary Public


Declaration on fuel smuggling report

Declaration by Kevin McManus in relation to the report “Diesel smuggler awaits outcome of appeal in Libyan court” (29 January, 2014).

I hereunder signed declare that the content of the above-quoted news article and the heading of same is incorrect and does not represent a true picture of what occurred while I was in Libya.

I declare that any statement purporting to declare that I was found guilty by the Libyan courts and that I have lodged an appeal from the said judgement, is untruthful and incorrect.

Furthermore, I declare that I have never had any kind of connection or commercial relationships whatsoever with Matthew Piscopo who is mentioned in the same article.

Kevin McManus