Ministerial aide who lost job after Sheehan shooting incident, lands top post

Manuel Mallia’s former aide Silvio Scerri appointed as Transport Malta chief enforcement officer

Silvio Scerri (right), the former aide of minister Manuel Mallia (left), has been appointed as Transport Malta’s chief enforcement officer
Silvio Scerri (right), the former aide of minister Manuel Mallia (left), has been appointed as Transport Malta’s chief enforcement officer

Silvio Scerri, the former chief of staff to minister Manuel Mallia, has been appointed to the post of chief enforcement officer at Transport Malta, where he will be responsible for the overall enforcement of the provisions of the Transport Authority Act, which regulates road, sea and air transport.

Scerri was appointed without any call for applications.

He had lost his job as chief of staff to former home affairs minister Manuel Mallia in December 2014 after an inquiry implicating him in the way the government communicated details on an incident where security driver Paul Sheehan fired shots at a motorist who nicked the ministerial vehicle.

While the inquiry prompted a call for Mallia to resign, the minister refused and he was dismissed by the prime minister. His staff – 19 employees – however were moved to other government posts, with Scerri taking up sojourn in the private secretariat of home affairs minister Carmelo Abela with duties in Gozo, former private secretary Quinton Scerri put on the PBS payroll on business management, and spokesperson Ramona Attard being detailed with the Office of the Prime Minister.

Scerri was not reappointed on Mallia’s staff since the Labour MP was reappointed to the competitiveness ministry in the Cabinet reshuffle prompted by the Panama Papers.

But he has now taken up a lucrative post in Transport Malta, one that paid his predecessor Ernest Tonna – a canvasser for the former minister Austin Gatt – over €50,000 as a recent parliamentary question revealed.

Scerri appears to have divested himself of any directorial or shareholding in Nexos, the lighting company which he was formerly associated with.

After the Sheehan affair, his contact with Mallia – whose 2013 electoral campaign he had been part of – decreased.

Scerri has been criticised for his overweening power when acting as chief of staff for Mallia, who had control of the police force as well as public broadcasting. He fended off accusations that he was responsible for using his influence to deny a police permit to boxer Scott Dixon’s exhibition match, because the boxer had been in a relationship with Scerri’s ex-wife.

And he was described in court by TV presenter John Bundy as “shedding a bad light on the home affairs ministry”, in a lawsuit Scerri filed against Bundy, who outed the chief of staff as having ordered the redeployment of TVM presenter Norman Vella to his civil service posting in the immigration department from where he had been seconded to the public broadcaster. Vella went on to contest on the Nationalist ticket for the European Parliament elections.