The Economy Minister’s chief of staff is bombarding people he doesn’t know with text messages advertising his clothes boutique

Published: January 4, 2014 at 5:55pm

Mike sent this comment in:

As we were enjoying lunch an SMS comes in from Mario. Mario who, I exclaimed.

My wife’s phone had been bombarded by this guy during the last general election, inviting us here and there to meet Chris Cardona.

We never bothered, as we’re not into pole dancing. And now that we thought we had finally got rid of his SMSes we start getting this: 50% off till stocks last on clothing from Pardi and Scruples Birkirkara, Paola, Hamrun.

U ejja, xi dwejjaq ta’ nies.

Well, as it happens I know who the Mario in question is, and had written about the subject here some months ago. He’s Mario Azzopardi, who owns Pardi boutique next to the Labour Party Club in Mannarino Road, Birkirkara, and a couple of other boutiques.

When Labour were in Opposition, he somehow acquired hundreds, perhaps thousands, of mobile phone numbers – including those of people I know who certainly are not interested in voting Labour – and bombarded them repeatedly with text messages about Chris Cardona – best wishes, Cardona’s activities, vote for Cardona & c & c.

When his ziemel was elected to government and made Minister for the Economy, Mario Azzopardi of Pardi Boutique was put on the public payroll as his chief of staff.

While he is chief of staff to the Minister for the Economy, Azzopardi continues to run his boutiques. And clearly, he is using the same mobile phone list he used to campaign for Chris Cardona, when Cardona was in Opposition, to advertise sales and discounts at his boutiques now that Cardona is a cabinet minister and he is his chief of staff.

Mario Azzopardi is the one marked out with a red arrow in this photograph.

SentMario Azzopardi_Chris Cardona chief of staff

26 Comments Comment

  1. Corinne Vella says:

    I used to receive Mario’s campaign messages. I reported them all to the Data Protection Commission. When he was contacted about this, Chris Cardona said “ma nafx biha din”. It turns out he was lying. So what’s new?

    • Joe Fenech says:

      I know many people in Malta who, pre election, regularly received unsolicited SMSs from Labour candidates, some of whom are now ministers.

      • Redneck Rabti says:

        I still receive unsolicited SMSes from a Rabat PN MP, even though I had asked him to cease sendi g me the SMSes and he had replied, apologising.

      • Joe Fenech says:

        Redneck Rabti

        I have no doubt that the problem is not confined to Labour candidates.

  2. Jozef says:

    So that’s who he is. I got over 40 SMSes from this Mario inviting me to all of Chris Cardona’s events prior to the election.

    Basically, one a day. Not anymore.

  3. Jozef says:

    Isn’t it illegal? Yeah right.

  4. Min Jaf says:

    Wiehed izjed imdejjaq mill-iehor. Basta tqatlu biex jiehdu il-gvern u lil-Malta f’idejhom.

  5. verita says:

    Who is paying for all those SMSes advertising his boutique? The government, through his mobile phone allowance?

    • John Abela says:

      Actually it’s not an allowance. As a chief-of-staff he gets a mobile phone on an unlimited contract paid by our taxes, free landline and free water and electricity at his residence.

  6. just me says:

    “owns Pardi boutique next to the Labour Party Club in Mannarino Road, Birkirkara, and a couple of other boutiques.”…

    Dan iehor li kien mejjet bil-guh taht Gonzi. Kellu ragun jissaportja u jivvota lill-Labour. Forsi issa jibda jiehu r-ruh, miskin.

  7. P Sant says:

    Aren’t civil servants on public payroll not allowed to do private work?

    • John Abela says:

      Erm, no, not exactly. They can have another job as long as they get approval in writing from the relevant permanent secretary.

  8. ciccio says:

    January’s cheap stuff from the chief of staff. 50% discount.

  9. verita says:

    He has mobile numbers taghna lkoll

  10. numerus says:

    If I recall correctly, Mario was Lorry & Carmen Sant’s sidekick.

  11. Riya says:

    Jekk m’inighx sejjer zball dan Mario kien mizzewweg lit-tifla ta’ Joe Debono Grech.

    Jekk hu hekk Chris Cardona vera ghandu biex jiftahar li ghandu Chief of Staff vera intelligenti.

    Waqqaw il-pajjiz ghas sufjett.

  12. P Shaw says:

    Is anyone taking minutes of this meeting? All the notebooks are closed.

  13. Gaetano Pace says:

    Nghiduha kif inhi, ma tantx hu xi gran che dal proxxmu. Il kwalita ta prodott li jbiegh u l-Gvern li gabilna ma humiex xi haga li tithajjar li jkollok. Issa nafu ghaliex ghandna din il-mizerja ta Partit tal Landi, icekcku ghax vojta fil-gvern

  14. Bullivant says:

    Chris Cardona’s furtive sideways glance : priceless.

  15. maria says:

    Is that Dom Mintoff addressing the Strasbourg Parliament in 1979, pictured in b&w on that bureau?

  16. Dickens says:

    The stock at the Pardi shop at Hamrun is unbelievably cheap and shoddy The jumble sales held regularly at the nearby Azzjoni Kattolika and church hall offer better variety and style, and better value too.

  17. The Mole says:

    A semi-illiterate chief of staff, who sleeps all day, and stays out all night. Lovely.

  18. Philip Micallef says:

    Solution to this problem of unsolicited emails, smses and phone calls is do what many countries have implemented: the office of data protection or some other authority establishes a NO CALL/MESSAGING/EMAIL register where people who do not want to receive any promotional communication register online in this register and no company can send any promotional messages or calls or emails to anyone in this register.

  19. charlie says:

    He even went to Bali recently with his Minister and the minister’s (woman) secretary, and the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary and a few more people. They were supposed to be there for the WTO meeting and instead went swimming.

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