PL ‘condemns’ PN’s defence of Fenech’s advisors on shadow finance group

Deputy party leader Toni Abela condemns leak of sensitive data from public officials in high positions to the PN’s former shadow finance minister Tonio Fenech, and Opposition leader Simon Busuttil’s defence of officials involved

PL Deputy leader Toni Abla and PL MP Charles Mangion • Photo by Ray Attard
PL Deputy leader Toni Abla and PL MP Charles Mangion • Photo by Ray Attard

Labour deputy party leader for party affairs Toni Abela has condemned the leak of sensitive data from public officials who were advising former shadow finance minister Tonio Fenech, in communications exchanged through a Google online group.

Abela said the employees, who work at the Central Bank, the NSO, and the MFSA, had broken Directive 5 of the public service management code, which stipulates that those occupying high positions are not meant to reveal sensitive data.

He also said these individuals engaged in discussions on the Google group during office working hours.

MaltaToday has already reported that the Google group chats had not even been set on ‘private’ mode, allowing the chats to be available to the public.

The chats were revealed by GWU newspaper It-Torca, who said the advisors engaged on the PN’s ‘shadow finance group’ on Google passed on sensitive financial information from the NSO before this was published or even sent to the government itself.

The group included Central Bank employee Chris Pace, MFSA communications chief Keith Zahra and NSO spokesperson Kevin Camenzuli. Zahra was formerly Tonio Fenech’s communications coordinator until 28 January 2013, when he was employed by the MFSA. Camenzuli on the other hand saw his contract with NSO extended on the 28 February 2013, only a week prior to the general elections.

Abela also said the e-mails pointed at the participation of former PN councilor for Sliema Michael Pace Ross, Tonio Fenech’s former secretary Colin Calleja, PN pollster Lawrence Zammit and Jes Saliba, a former spokesperson for Nationalist minister Austin Gatt.

Labour MP Charles Mangion added that the Google Group exchange infringedon  directives on the duty of public officials to remain impartial, questioning whether Fenech had encouraged such a breach of these officials’ contractors.

Abela also suggested that the leaked information was used on the Opposition’s website, which calculates how much money Maltese consumers were losing compared to lower fuel prices charged in Europe.