Bedingfield unrelenting on Hyzler: ‘Government should not have appointed former MP to post’

Labour Whip Glenn Bedingfield is doubling down on his tiff with Standards Commissioner George Hyzler

Glenn Bedingfield (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)
Glenn Bedingfield (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)

Labour Party Whip Glenn Bedingfield has defended his claims against Standards Commissioner George Hyzler, arguing that his criticism – a reaction to a recent Hyzler decision – was directed at the former Nationalist MP, not his office.

Bedingfield hit out at Hyzler’s decision to find an ethics breach on the part of minister Carmelo Abela over an advert taken out on newspapers.

The Labour MP is denying this was his motivation. “Reporting in newspapers made it seem that I criticised Hyzler because of a complaint on a government MP. That is not true, I criticised him because he is not doing his job properly,” he said.

In a parliamentary speech two weeks ago, the Labour whip called out the Standards Czar for failing to abide by the standards he demands from government, stating he has failed to investigate complaints on government MPs impartially.

He also raised questions on how Hyzler’s consultants and personal driver were employed “under the cloud of corruption”. Hyzler has since denied the claims.

On Monday, Bedingfield continued to hit out at George Hyzler, going as far as saying he was viewing himself as an “emperor”.

“Why does he insist on not replying to parliamentary questions? Why is he refusing to given information to the public? What does the emperor want to hide?” Bedingfield said.

Two weeks ago, the Labour MP questioned the appointment of a personal drive for Hyzler, whom the Comissioner said is paid €23,632 and not a Scale 9 (€24,650) salary as pegged to ministerial drivers. “He is not a minister, and cannot compare himself to one. I ask again, why was an expression of interest not issued?” Bedingfield asked.

Bedingfield also said that a consultant working in Hyzler’s office had managed to rack up a fixed-line phone bill of around €3,000. “Where were these calls placed? How was this €3,000 used? Even if someone calls their relatives in Australia every day for a year, their phone bill would still not cost that amount of money,” he said. “Hyzler should investigate this.”

He remarked that Hyzler had handpicked consultants who analysed the declaration of assets of MPs. “From all auditors one could picj, he handpicked one who had been found guilty in court due to negligence as an auditor.”

Another consultant within the commissioner’s office had “serious allegations” levelled against him and had been removed from office, Bedingfield claimed.

Another employee was a relative of a civil society group’s member. “Even if there is just the perception of a conflict of interest, it is still wrong.”

Bedingfield insisted it had been a mistake by the government to appoint a former MP to the position of Standards Commissioner. “Teh law should be amended so these mistakes are not repeated again. A former member of the house can never hold such a role,” he said.