MTA ‘used, exploited and abused’ for government’s political gain, Nationalist MP says

Nationalist MP Mark Anthony Sammut says tourism authority is being used by Minister Clayton Bartolo to advance his political interests

Malta Tourism Authority (File photo)
Malta Tourism Authority (File photo)

The Malta Tourism Authority is being “used, exploited and abused” by the government and minister Clayton Bartolo for political mileage, Nationalist MP Mark Anthony Sammut said in parliament.

“The authority is being used by government as a cash register to pay the chosen few, and by the minister himself as a personal fund for his political campaign,” the MP told the House on Monday.

Sammut claimed the abuse is being carried out at every level of the authority.

“You start with the chairman, who is paid €100,000 yearly, as a token of appreciation for being a Labour candidate,” he said.

He also mentioned how Abela’s legal advisor, Ryan Pace, is receiving an annual consultancy fee of €24,000 for his legal services. He also sits on a number of other government entity boards.

“All this because he used to work with Robert Abela,” Sammut said.

He also claimed there were a number of instances where tax-payer money was being misused in events and sponsorships.

“The sponsorship committee today is being led by the chairman, together with the new brand partnership and innovation director, who happened to be the Labour deputy mayor of Ħal-Luqa and a close personal friend of the director,” he said. “And everything goes to the same group companies, or where it best serves the minister at his district.”

The PN MP also slammed the country’s lack of enforcement, citing the deckchair situation on Comino.

“When Moviment Graffitti carried out direct action against deckchair operators, he tried to mock people by telling us that MTA enforcement officers were on their way there. He then said a committee was preparing a holistic plan for the island,” Sammut said. “When I asked him who the members of this committee were, he did not answer my question and directed me to the last legislature’s committee.”