Sofia inquiry: Malta Enterprise deputy chair and OHSA chair step down

OHSA chair David Xuereb and Malta Enterprise deputy chair Peter Borg resign after Jean Paul Sofia public inquiry report

David Xuereb (left) and Peter Borg tendered their resignations on Wednesday
David Xuereb (left) and Peter Borg tendered their resignations on Wednesday

Malta Enterprise’s deputy chairperson Peter Borg, and OHSA chairman David Xuereb, have tendered their resignation after the release of a public inquiry report into the 2022 construction collapse that killed Jean Paul Sofia.

According to the Times of Malta, Borg and Xuereb tendered their resignation earlier on Wednesday after the publication of the report. Meanwhile, two other Malta Enterprise board members – lobbyist Paul Abela and unionist Victor Carachi – are also expected to resign.

Their resignations came after the Prime Minister gave all CEOs and chairpersons singled out in the report an ultimatum to shoulder responsibility for the shortcomings that led to the death of Jean Paul Sofia.

Abela, without naming names, said he expected the chairperson of an entity and two CEOs of another two entities to resign. He also mentioned an employee and a number of managers who are no longer at their posts as other people who were singled out in the report.

So far, Xuereb is the only known chairperson to have tendered his resignation.

The public inquiry board was highly critical of Malta Enterprise, specifically its investment committee, which in May 2019 approved the proposal from AllPlus Limited to build a furniture factory on government industrial land. This land later became the site of Jean Paul Sofia’s death.

READ ALSOPrime Minister gives CEOs, chairpersons ultimatum to ‘shoulder responsibility’ over Sofia inquiry

The inquiry board said the investment committee was superficial in its decision to approve the proposal, and should never have accepted the investment proposal in the first place.

Peter Borg's statement

Folowing the news of his resignation, Peter Borg stated that he resigned from his post in order to maintain the trust in Malta Enterprise "beyond doubt."

"The decision was also a heartfelt gesture of my deep respect and sympathy for the family of Jean Paul Sofia," he added.

Gatt said that it was unfortunate that non of the Malta Enterprise Investment Committee members were called to testify before the inquiry board. "Such testimony could have corrected some misconceptions and incorrect assumptions made by the inquiry in its conclusions," he stated.

He further explained that the committee does not assess proposals, as its role is "to debate and decide upon them based on documentation and recommendations submitted by Malta Enterprise management."

"As such, this committee cannot, and should not, be held responsible for any incomplete or untruthful information that may have been submitted to it."

"The investment committee had followed this procedure since way before my involvement. During my tenure as deputy chairperson of Malta Enterprise, I was an active voice for reform and along with other colleagues repeatedly made calls for improved due diligence and process. I am hopeful that the necessary changes and improvements will continue to be driven forward in the interest of good governance and better public administration," he concluded.