San Andrea assistant head confirms ex-colleague's account of former chairman's financial irregularities

The scandal gripping San Andrea School over a former headmaster’s allegation that its chairperson had fraudulently taken over €200,000 from the school took another twist today

Former San Andrea assistant head Trevor Templeman
Former San Andrea assistant head Trevor Templeman

The scandal gripping San Andrea School over a former headmaster’s allegation that its chairperson had fraudulently taken over €200,000 from the school took another twist today, with an affidavit sworn by another assistant head supporting his claims.

Earlier this month, the school’s former Assistant Head, Trevor Templeman, resigned his post as assistant head of the school, sending an email to parents at the independent school in which he alleged that a former chairperson of the school board had defrauded the school out of over €200,000.

Templeman says he had been given this information about transactions involving former Chairperson Kevin Spiteri, by the school principal Stefania Bartolo and the head of finance Leanne Spiteri, in the presence of other members of staff.

He claims that his resignation came after he had been bullied by the administration for flagging the issue to the school’s current Chairperson, Alex Tortell.

READ ALSO: Teacher’s resignation raises storm over San Andrea fraud allegations

Templeman later emailed parents to tell them that Tortell had “wanted to find a reason to fire me so as to shut me up and as revenge for disclosing that information as regards the school’s finances.”

This led the school’s headmistress, Stefania Bartolo, to file a judicial protest against Templeman on October 25, in which she called upon him to withdraw the allegations he had made in her regard, which she rejected as “defamatory and untrue.”

But in an affidavit attached to Templeman’s counter protest which was filed this morning by lawyers David Bonello and Chris Said, Ruth Azzopardi, the Primary School Assistant Head, has buttressed Templeman’s claims.

Azzopardi says that in April this year, she and Templeman had been summoned to Bartolo’s office, and that during that meeting Bartolo had unilaterally decided to share information with the two assistant heads about financial irregularities “that neither I nor Trevor Templeman had ever requested.” It was not in their interest nor in their job description to possess information about the school’s finances, she said.

During that meeting, for which the school’s head of finance Leanne Spiteri had also been present, Stefania Bartolo had shown Azzopardi and Templeman a paper on which several sums had been scribbled in biro and told them that former headmaster Kevin Spiteri had made transactions labelled as “miscellaneous” reaching a total of some €200,000 and had given €25,000 to an ex-employee to “keep his mouth shut with information regarding the finances.”

Kevin Spiteri had also issued a number of cheques without Bartolo’s authorisation or her signature.  Azzopardi’s affidavit goes on to state that Bartolo told them that Kevin Spiteri would buy items for the school without first obtaining three separate quotes, had “forced” Leanne Spiteri to waive school fees pertaining to his two children and that he had made some €3 million in income, excluding a separate sum of around €1 million in connection with the construction of the school’s Multipurpose Hall.

“During that meeting, after giving us this information, Stefania Bartolo told us that she felt betrayed by Kevin Spiteri…Bartolo and Leanne Spiteri appeared panicked, shocked and frustrated by Kevin Spiteri’s actions.”

“Stefania Bartolo, on that occasion, had made a scene before us, and said that she hated Kevin Spiteri and that she did not want to have anything to do with him again.”

In her sworn statement, Azzopardi recounts how she had asked Bartolo whether she was saying that Kevin Spiteri had ‘robbed the school,’  to which Bartolo had replied in the affirmative, adding that he had created a makeshift contract in August 2021 - just one month after his Chairmanship was terminated - which included an amount which he forced Leanne Spiteri to oblige the school to pay him in rent for the use of his warehouse. “All this happened in my presence and I heard it with my own ears and therefore I am confirming it on oath,” concludes Azzopardi’s affidavit.

READ ALSO: San Andrea: board chair, principal step down pending internal ‘fraud’ inquiry