Updated | PN accuses government of ‘interfering’ in MFSA’s operations

The party was reacting to media reports regarding an employee who was compensated for early retirement and reemployed with another public agency

The PN has accused the government of interfering in the MFSA's operations
The PN has accused the government of interfering in the MFSA's operations

The Nationalist Party (PN) has accused the government of interfering in the MFSA’s operations, after it was reported that a former official had been compensated €150,000 for early retirement, before taking up a post with another government agency.  

Earlier this week it was reported that the MFSA’s former Human Resources Director had been “encouraged” to opt for yearly retirement, receiving a payout of €150,000 in return.

According to the report, published in the Sunday Times of Malta, the former director was then employed with the Registry of Companies Agency, which was, up until recently, a part of the MFSA.

The Nationalist Party noted that report had not been denied by the MFSA, and agency it said was “supposedly safeguarding the public interest”.

“Likewise, the Minister of Finance has remained silent on the misuse of public funds,” the PN said.

The party said it “fully condemns this abusive and improper practice, that has been permitted and accepted by an authority that is meant to be responsible for ensuring financial integrity”.

It said that the government needed to stop “interfering” in the MFSA’s operations, if it is to be able to act diligently.

“The financial services industry needs the relevant authorities’ reputation to be restored in order to ensure the industry’s relevance and sustainability,” the PN said.  

Opposition politicising the financial services sector - government

Reacting to the PN’s statement, the secretariat for financial services said that the Opposition had once again “deliberately chosen to politicise the financial services sector in Malta by disseminating blatant lies”.

“The Opposition knows only too well that the MFSA is an autonomous authority which, after recent changes in legislation, has been given more tools to further strengthen its governance,” read a statement.

These changes, it said, were “pioneered” and carried out by the present administration, with the objective of strengthening the authority’s autonomy.

It pointed out that that minister responsible for the MFSA is no longer responsible for setting remuneration packages at the authority. “The MFSA now establishes its own employee remuneration package. This package is then discussed in a parliamentary committee made up of both government and Opposition members.”

Furthermore, the secretariat said that the government had removed what was known as ‘Directive 7’, which has freed the MFSA from requiring the consent of the parliamentary secretary in order for it to engage new employees.

“The MFSA established and decides its own human resource requirements,” it said. “Political intervention in this authority is now a thing of the past – and a thing of previous administrations, who now want to point fingers at those taking action to maintain and safeguard the role of this regulatory authority.”

The government, it said, unlike the Opposition, would continue working to strengthen the financial services sector, in order to create more jobs and safeguard driven by the financial services sector.