So, readers may be wondering how the Ministry of Education has ended up making a payment of €300,000 to scammers. I know and worked with the current director of finances at the Ministry of Education and I know the setup. Basically, the directorate of finances would have received the invoice for payment and the director, Josette Sant would have had to forward the email to the permanent secretary for approval. The director of finances, Josette Sant, would have surely never approved a €300,000 payment by herself. She’s not that kind of bureaucrat.
The Ministry of Education is one of the biggest ministries but in reality, Malta is a small country and its ministries are still relatively small operations. A permanent secretary in Malta would be aware of all major outgoing payments, obligations and contractors working for the ministry or its entities. Ministerial offices are also relatively small and you could easily hop from one office to another in a matter of seconds with most of the staff easily located next to each other.
So, why would the permanent secretary, Matthew Vella approve of a fake €300,000 invoice? Well, the simple answer is because he is stupid and I am not saying this to be dramatic, because it’s the truth. I know the man since my days at the university, and Matthew Vella is incompetent as they come. He has absolutely no experience dealing with money and management of big organisations, yet he was made permanent secretary of one of Malta’s biggest ministries after its previous permanent secretary, Frank Fabri had to resign over serious criminal allegations (which were never investigated and Frank Fabri was even rehabilitated with a new job).
Matthew Vella is a social worker with absolutely no experience in managing money, yet he manages an institution with a budget of more than €1 billion: hilarious, sad and tragic. A Mafia State run by incompetent imbeciles.
You may also want to ask, how did Matthew Vella get his position? Previously, Matthew Vella was the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Senior Citizens and Active Aeging. Now, that wasn’t a very complex ministry because you didn’t need to do much as a permanent secretary and Matthew Vella kept a low profile. He was involved in various controversies and small scandals, such as getting involved in personal cases at the old people’s home, Saint Vincent De Paul and eventually at Appoġġ (he was then PS of the Social Ministry), and acting in a very non-professional manner, but his misdemeanours were not relevant enough to hit the headlines.
Back when Joseph Muscat was Prime Minister he appointed a mix of people as permanent secretaries: some were technocrats, some were outright criminal operators, while others like Matthew Vella were simply incompetent lapdogs who would do anything to ingratiate with their master, whoever it is. For example, Ronald Mizzi who was permanent secretary to Konrad Mizzi was specifically appointed for his post to handle in an intelligent and smart manner all of the corrupt projects that Konrad Mizzi executed. Ronald Mizzi is in the category of the straight-up criminal government bureaucrats and the role of these bureaucrats is to fix and cover corruption with legalism and bureaucracy. Ronald Mizzi was very good at covering up for Konrad Mizzi and he did this willingly all the way when he knew that Konrad Mizzi’s projects involved extensive corruption.
Then there are the incompetent Party bażużli who are also corrupt, but much less intelligent and these are given lesser important tasks and roles. This category of bureaucrats we call them “bażużli” because they have nearly 0 skills and their only role is to fulfill Party orders and wishes. They are incapable of forming an opinion of their own, have 0 experience in the private industry, and are totally incompetent. Some of these incompetent bażużli who today are permanent secretaries are Matthew Vella (mentioned here) and Johan Galea, the current permanent secretary to the Ministry of Justice.
Matthew Vella could get his post as permanent secretary to the Ministry of Education because he supported Robert Abela in his leadership race. Given that Clifton Grima, the Minister of Education supported Chris Fearne during the leadership race, Robert Abela appointed one of his supporters as permanent secretary to Clifton Grima so as to have a pair of eyes on him. It’s all very sad and tragic how this country is being run simply on the whims, desires and paranoia of a corrupt and criminal Prime Minister.