Justyne Caruana is not alone as a potential criminal suspect over her corrupt €15,000 payment to her boyfriend. The man who signed off the corrupt contract, knowing and consciously that the contract was corrupt and criminally illegal is Frank Fabri, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Education. Frank is not an idiot and he knows very well that what he did was illegal. This is the same man who despite not knowing the difference between a financial statement and a balance sheet is responsible for the finances of the Ministry of Education. Executives and CEOs of the entities of the Ministry of Education may remember Frank as the guy who would give them a lot of shit for breaking procurement regulations, only to breach them himself constantly, this time round even flagrantly.
Frank would like us to believe he is a technocrat and a neutral civil service operator. He’s not. He’s a sleazy political operator of the Labour Party with political ambitions while masquerading as a civil servant. He also supported Robert Abela’s leadership bid back in 2020.
Frank was a contestant for the 2008 general election, but the Nationalists found a cunning way to take him out of the race. Prior to the general election, at a fundraising event for his political campaign, surrounded by his canvassers and supporters, Frank stunned his crowd by announcing that he was dropping out of the political race after he was offered a promotion at the Education Department. Naturally, his canvassers were severely disappointed with this news as they had been hard at work campaigning for him on a daily basis. Frank went on to become Varist’s permanent secretary, only to then show his true colours by facilitating corrupt contracts to Varist’s successors.
When Owen Bonnici became Minister of Education, Frank had absolute control over the Ministry of Education (except for the National Book Council which I still controlled). Bonnici was totally incompetent and had no idea what he wanted or could do with the Education portfolio leaving Frank with a lot of power in the ministry. Having the Ministry of Education under his control, Frank found the time to use his civil service position to push himself in the public eye and in the media, extending once again his political ambitions. Frank’s behavior during the last two years was not only bizarre but highly unique and irregular in the world of the civil service given that permanent secretaries are supposed to keep a low profile and avoid the media landscape.
Justyne, as dumb as Owen experienced a similar situation where Frank was clearly in charge with the difference that Frank and Justyne were close friends who went way back. Before signing off Justyne’s direct order to her boyfriend, Frank had told her in clear terms that she was doing something irregular, potentially illegal and politically dangerous but he went on to sign it anyway conveniently banking on his ingratiation for the sake of his political ambitions.
Now, Frank may have the possibility to ruminate over his political ambitions in a jail cell over a pitiful €15,000 contract to his boss’ boyfriend.
Prosit Ministru. Bonġu Ministru.