Joseph Muscat should assume responsibility for blatant conflict of interest appointment

NGOs condemned Joseph Muscat’s defence of his appointment of a Planning Authority employee to the appeals Tribunal.

Joseph Muscat appointed Martin Saliba to the appeals tribunal, which decides on Planning Authority cases, whilst Saliba was on leave from the PA, and with the assurance that Saliba would retain his job at the PA after his stint on the Tribunal. “This is a blatant conflict of interest,” said a spokesperson for the group. “Joseph Muscat dangles the red herring of where the money for Mr. Saliba’s salary was coming. This is irrelevant. An adjudicator was appointed to decide on cases where his employer – past, present and future – was a party. Mr Saliba did not ever disclose this issue   which reveals that his financial security was guaranteed by his re-assuming his PA job. It is evident that such a situation would lead to bias especially when considering Martin Saliba’s track record in deciding controversial large projects including the Tumas/Gasan Mrieħel Towers, db/ ITS and the Central Link project.

As a result of Mr Saliba’s appointment as Tribunal Chairman, the continued concealment of his employment with the PA, and critical Tribunal decisions, appellants’ rights have been breached. Joseph Muscat tries to defend his actions by saying that Martin Saliba was qualified for the post. He is trying to obscure the real issue – this is not about Martin Saliba’s qualifications, but the fact that he was employed with the PA, while deciding cases to which the PA was a party. No matter how brilliant a referee is, he should not preside over a match in which his past, present and future team is playing. Joseph Muscat and Martin Saliba should assume immediate responsibility for this breach and lack of transparency. We will not rest until we pull down the edifice of deceit within the planning and appeals system. For one, we need to ensure that this is not happening again.” 

  1. Attard Residents Environmental Network
  2. Azzjoni: Tuna Artna Lura
  3. Bicycle Advocacy Group
  4. BirdLife Malta
  5. Din l-Art Ħelwa
  6. Extinction Rebellion Malta
  7. Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar
  8. Friends of the Earth (Malta)
  9. Moviment Graffitti
  10. Nature Trust Malta
  11. Ramblers’ Association of Malta
  12. The Archaeological Society Malta