And then some people were scathing when I said that Labour is not fit for purpose

Published: March 19, 2013 at 12:22am

On The Malta Independent’s online edition today:

Office equipment is inventoried, cannot simply vanish
by Jacob Borg

Allegations over office equipment going walkabouts in the various Ministries and government deparments have been flying thick and fast lately.

Taking to Facebook last Friday, parliamentary secretary Roderick Galdes lamented the fact that his first day of work was characterised by administrative problems “caused by others,” a jibe at PN MP Clyde Puli’s former staff, based at Casa Leoni St. Venera.

Mr Puli denied this allegation outright, saying that the office space had been relinquished the Friday before the election, and civil servants responsible for the handover had verified that all was in order.

Questioned about allegations that office equipment has in some may been misappropriated, one source in the civil service speaking to The Malta Independent rubbished this claim outright saying that “all the equipment has been inventoried, so there is no way that is can be stolen.”

Another source spoke of the ordeal that staff at the National Commission for Higher Education are currently going through. NCHE staff based at Casa Leoni were told to vacate their offices on the same day that the new cabinet was sworn in last Wednesday.

Staff duly shifted all the necessary equipment on Thursday to their new offices at the Umberto Colosso Primary School across the road, but the game of musical chairs was just beginning. By the end of business on Thursday the staff were once again out on the streets, having been told to relocate to Pembroke.

The only problem was that the office space has not yet been officially allocated. Sources informedThe Malta Independent that NCHE staff spent last Friday sitting in their cars during their working day. All the office equipment is still in limbo and no action can be taken before the office space is officially allocated.

34 Comments Comment

    • David says:

      What is inventoried can still vanish. What is even more shocking is that it appears that the ransacking of office equipment and files of ministries seems to occur regularly on the departure of a minister. There was a criminal case on missing government files in the 1970’s. People who entered these ministries recently confirm the vandalism.

      [Daphne – Don’t be idiotic, David. The equipment in secretariats, like the people who work in them, is ‘leased’ and not permanent. To spell it out, that equipment does not belong to the government. It comes in with the people who move into the secretariat. And it moves out with them. There are lease agreements. That is why the permanent furniture and equipment is still there. The problem here – to which you appear to be blind – is that the first act of the incoming government was to demand the resignation of the permanent secretary in each ministry, whose role it is to EXPLAIN THESE THINGS TO THE INCOMING GOVERNMENT. The case you mention, from the 1970s, was one of Mintoff’s many witchhunts: the Lawrence Cachia Zammit case. Kindly do not use it as an example unless you wish to be crapped upon from a great height by the people who lived through it and know the details.]

      • Qeghdin Sew says:

        Is the telephone cabling leased too?

        [Daphne – Telephone cabling is in the walls. You plug in your telephone and you remove it.]

      • Josette says:

        To my knowledge Cachia Zammit won that case and the right of outgoing Ministers to take their personal files was established.

      • Observer says:

        A well deserved reply, Daphne. I happen to have ‘lived through it and know the details’

      • Catsrbest says:

        And that case was won hands down by the Cachia Zammit brothers (Lawrence and Alexander). You should know court cases better than that, David, and not cite a case that was lost by the government of that era.

      • David says:

        So people like equipment are leased. A perfect excuse for the ransacking of offices. Why is equipment leased and not bought by the state, with lease usually being more costly to the tax payer who has thereby to pay more for the offices of ministers and their hangers on? Are all ministry computers, telephones and all other equipment, furniture and stationery all leased?

        I know some of the harrowing details of the Cachia Zammit case, including where missing files were hidden, but I think you are similarly aware of them and I do not need to spell them out here.

        [Daphne – The only harrowing details, David, are in the treatment of the victims. Nothing to do with files can possibly be ‘harrowing’. And the government lost that case. The files were personal and Mr Cachia Zammit had every right to take them home with him.]

        Why is there no handover from the former ministers to the new ministers, the former ministers secretariers to the new ministers secreataries as I believe is the case in other countries?

        [Daphne – Again, David, you are seriously misinformed. There is never any handover between the ministers of the outgoing government and those coming in. THIS IS WHAT PERMANENT SECRETARIES ARE FOR AND THE CLUE IS IN THEIR NAME. But the first act of the incoming government was to get rid of the permanent secretaries before they could do this. The result has been chaos, including the chaotic interpretation of the removal of leased equipment as ‘theft’. This has been a parody of an incoming government of Slovakian peasant-farmers, not quite sure what to do or what everything is for, but sure of just one thing: that heads must roll.]

      • David says:

        Another prefect excuse, ministers’ files are personal files. If these files were personal files, why were they hidden? Besides a minister is an official and files kept in the ministry should be public files. A minister should keep personal files at home or at his private office.

        [Daphne – Personal files were hidden at the time precisely because there was no rule of law. You never knew what the police were going to take off you. The definition of personal files is not files related to, say, one’s car insurance of health records, but the files related to certain correspondence or dealings. This is perfectly normal. They are either shredded or taken home. And personal emails are systematically deleted, for the obvious reason that you don’t want those coming in after you to have access to them. It is the equivalent of packing your cardboard box and leaving.]

        The Cachia Zammit case was decided by jurors, known to be legally untrained and incompetent. In the past jurors have given verdicts which are legal heresy if not also gross miscarriages of justice. A former president and also a former attorney general had stated their scepticisim with the jury system. Besides half the jurors would probably be Nationalist sympathisers and therefore a guilty verdict on a former Nationalist minister would have been highly unlikely. Future trials involving corruption should be tried by competent magistrates and judges and not by jurors, as is the case in the UK with serious fraud cases.

        [Daphne – Oh for God’s sake, do stop. What is your beef with that particular case? You are obviously too young to remember it yourself, but seem to have some kind of personal fixation. What is it? You have no idea what it was like living in those times. The police were like the Stasi and life was human rights hell. So please do not speak where you do not know. Whatever your problem is, dump it. You do not know any of the individuals involved, you know nothing about the situation, you do not know the details and believe me when I say that you come across, to those of us who experienced life then, like somebody trying to justify the arrest and persecution of individuals by a totalitarian state, out of some idealistic misjudgement.]

        It is incredible to say that all ministers files are personal.

        [Daphne – Nobody said that all ministers’ files are personal. There are personal files and there are ministerial business files. The ministerial business files stay on. Obviously. The permanent secretaries, had they not been removed, would have been able to explain this.]

        If I wrote to a former minister to complain on matter concerning his remit and I have not received a satisfactory reply, what happens to that correspondence? Is that correspondence in the private files? Do I have to write afresh to the new minister? Do I have to continue corresponding with the old minister?

        [Daphne – Unbelievable. The clientelistic attitude taken to extremes. No, you write to the Minister, not to the individual who occupies the role. And you continue to deal with the Minister no matter if the incumbent changes. This is why the government of Malta as the government of Malta has been found repeatedly guilty of human rights abuses despite the government at the time being Nationalist while the abuses were committed by Mintoff’s and KMB’s governments. At law, the government is the government is the government, no matter who forms it.]

        Permanent secretaries are a peculiar feature of the UK and Anglo-Saxon countries. In Malta I do not think they have existed for more than 20 years. Other civilised countries have other methods. Say in Italy the incoming minister enters the ministry and meets the outgoing minister. After a brief meeting the outgoing minister leaves the ministry.

        [Daphne – Please do not refer to Italy as a civilised country where matters of government and administration are concerned. You cannot, absolutely CANNOT, be serious in offering up the Italian system of government as a suitable or equal alternative to the British system. If you carry on like this, I shall find myself sorely tempted to not even bother answering. There is a reason why the Italian system of the outgoing minister meeting the incoming one for a ‘handover’ is bad. It over-rides and avoids what should be permanent systems and screams out ‘issa nirrangaw’. Hence the permanent secretary.]

      • Izzie says:

        Please leave ITALY out of political comparison, a joke of a country where politics are concerned.

        The February elections just showed how ungovernable the Italians are.

        Nothing works in that damned country – I know, I live there. Try to get something decent working in Italy, ah you’d be so amused.

  1. Matthew S says:

    Thank you.

    This is real news.

    • La Redoute says:

      The other bit of real news is that the Times took Roderick Galdes at his word and published his outrageous lies.

      Or maybe they weren’t lies. Maybe Roderick Galdes is like his party, simply not fit for purpose.

      • Aston says:

        The Kasco Tribune …. errm sorry, the Times has now published Clyde Puli’s side of the story, much less prominently, of course. Most people haven’t noticed.

  2. G Borg says:

    This is clear evidence that Malta taghhom ilkoll, u ta’ ohrajn li telghu fuq il-karru.

    What is important is the guarantee that our new prime minister gave us about the respect of meritocracy and the assurance to “kull min irid jahdem maghna.”

    In the meantime welcome to Mario Cutajar and Mario Vella, and there will surely be others that will ‘merit’ the appointment. Welcome also to the Dolores Cristina gimmick

  3. Inventory says:

    My telephone set, my chair, my desk and even the blind fixed to the window next to my desk were inventoried. Fifteen days before we moved out of the offices we reconciled the inventory with the government officials, to make sure that on the day we leave all in order.

    • Qeghdin Sew says:

      Would you have been able to reconcile the inventory on the day you actually left your offices / when the new administration moved in? That’s the question here.

      • La Redoute says:

        Wrong question. The relevant one is: why are you so sure that anything was stolen? Because Leo Brincat said so? Please.

  4. Zunzana says:

    At least there is one newspaper on this island that is not afraid to embarrass the new government and give us the true picture of things as they stand. This is what people want to know, the bare facts, and not to bias the information.

  5. Joe Formosa says:

    Is it not convenient to find empty offices? so then you can use tax payers money and contract a new supplier of choice, starting the new five year term with a big bang!

    • Alexander Ball says:

      I have to laugh.

      Imagine if the offices were left intact.

      Then they would have photos accompanying complaints that ‘hey ta, they left all their rubbishy second-hand stuff behind’.

  6. Hannah says:

    Just buy The Malta Independent. That’s all my family is doing. We need an independent journalism free from lies. We need to know the truth. We stopped buying The Times.

    • Catsrbest says:

      And please also buy In-Nazzjon and Il-Mument, even though their newsrooms, together with that of NET TV, must enhance their MO and employ better journalists.

      In my opinion, they were not effective in denying all the lies meted out by the PL propaganda machine.

      However, in all fairness, I must add that this election campaign was so much tarnished with lies and mud-slinging by the PL that it was not an easy task for them to counteract, especially, when almost all the other media in the country were also dishing out and repeating the same lies and presenting them as facts.

      The uninformed and the misinformed believe lies more readily than they believe facts.

    • Observer says:

      I stopped buying it ages ago – and don’t rue it at all!

      At least I have the satisfaction that some gutter pseudo journalist is not making money through my gullibility.

    • Mister says:

      Yep that’s the only way forward. The Times is a disgrace.

  7. Peppa says:

    Jekk nixtru t-Times inkunu qeghdin biss inhaxxnu l-bwiet tan-nies li hareg car hafna kemm ma jafux fejn joqghod il-principju.

    I feel sorry for any old timers who still work there.

  8. Angus Black says:

    This is the new transparent way of ‘doing business’ by the Labour horde.

  9. Manuel says:

    Stop buying The Times, or as it has been renamed above, The Kasco Tribune.

    Seeing that they are losing on their circulation, maybe they will come to their senses, which I doubt.

    However, I shall not partake anymore in financing a newspaper that is licking the PL’s backside.

  10. Roy says:

    Another misleading, redundant headline akin to the one where Joseph Muscat met Hollande on a landing.

    And I love how he sticks his face in there, seemingly competing with Me Shall for Joe Biden’s attention.

  11. David S says:

    Well I do hope Dr Gonzi sues Raphael Vassallo for libel. That article has gone viral on FB, with many Nats expressing shock about it.

    [Daphne – Shock at Raphael or shock because they are mad enough to believe it, despite watching Joseph Muscat entering the Auberge de Castille on television and seeing all the furniture still there? And what was that furniture, then, in the first photograph of the cabinet meeting? When people believe things like this, I wonder how anyone gets to pass their maths O level.]

  12. TROY says:

    So much for Joseph’s ROAD MAP.

  13. Malta Taghhom Biss says:

    Taken off Facebook this evening:

    “Saw with my own eyes how unfortunately some people don’t realise that the feast of St. Joseph in Rabat was for everyone to enjoy and it was not part of any political celebrations. Can you imagine ever attacking someone and shouting abuse at them for having different political views to yours ? The hatred in some people is unbelievable. Thank you to the Fransiscan Friars who offered her protection and stood outside the friary like body guards :) Thank you to the very polite police who handled the situation very well. Seems like Malta is not Taghna ilkoll for everyone!”

  14. Ghoxrin Punt says:

    The Manoel Theatre staff found themselves in the same situation when the new PS for Culture decided that he liked their office best and ordered them out.

  15. CB says:

    Encourage people to read for truly INDEPENDENT reporting. Serious.

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