Well, now we know why Joe Bannister lent his name and that of the Malta Financial Services Authority to Joseph Muscat’s scheme to sell passports

Published: January 27, 2014 at 11:23pm

Joe Bannister

Joe Bannister’s contract as chairman of the Malta Financial Services Authority has been renewed for another five years, even though this is one instance in which the Labour mantra of ‘change’ should really have applied, because after all these years it certainly is time Bannister retired and made way for some new blood instead of treating the post as some kind of lifelong sinecure.

But my God, how cheap, tacky and abusive of both of them – the prime minister and Bannister – to trade the Malta Financial Services Authority’s public support of the very scheme it should be tearing to shreds for the prime minister’s renewal of the chairman’s contract.

Oh, isn’t that what happened? Go on, surprise me.

The way the Labour Party laid into Bannister at every given opportunity when in Opposition made him a prime candidate for Muscat’s liberal and progressive guillotine. But not when there was something to trade.

33 Comments Comment

  1. H.P. Baxxter says:

    It’s PROFESSOR Bannister to you.

    • curious says:

      Look at this comment by Paul Bonello in September 2012. How times change.

      It is interesting that Mr Spiteri is accused of doing the bidding for some people.

      “One does not have to be an MI5 detective to discover that Mr Spiteri is doing the bidding of the top people of the MFSA to ensure that whilst parties in Government may change, the top heads in the MFSA remain in place in perpetuity. It is true that the financial services industry has grown from its embryonic stage of shipping registration in the 1970s to its present important position in the GNP, and this partly to the credit of the regulator. However, whilst business may be growing, the quality of regulation performed by the MFSA leaves much to be desired, in particular in the Investment Services and investment protection field, which is the main statutory function of the Authority. This is not restricted to the Euro 85 millio Bov Property Fund which is mentioned by Mr Spiteri as if it were a solitary case. There are many other schemes of bust and illiquid funds worth at least a hundred million Euro which misselling has caused the financial disaster of so many families. Victims of misselling have found no effective solace in MFSA. The MFSA and related legislation is crying for major reform and indeed for the appointment of top people with personality who would be prepared to lead the able staff in their organisation and to take the right decisions when it matters without delay. Paul Bonello, Finco Treasury Management Ltd.”


  2. Gullible's Travels says:

    Joe Bannister and John Dalli are joined at the hip. Taghna lkoll.

  3. Gahan says:

    Joseph Muscat believes that everyone has his price, and everyone seems out to prove him right.

  4. Antoine Vella says:

    This is a form of corruption.

    • ciccio says:

      Isn’t paying Eur 650,000 (plus expenses) to acquire EU citizenship and a passport from one of the 28 countries, without ever residing in that country (or in any of the other countries necessarily), a form of corruption?

      To me, this is like paying a bribe at the door.

    • Tabatha White says:

      Completely so.

      And one would have expected an earlier appropriate reaction from the separate Financial Services Institutions since this strikes at their market.

      But no.

  5. Rahal says:

    Che gente di merda.

  6. It all stinks says:

    I wonder what the price of the US embassy is? Their silence is deafening.

  7. Dave says:

    Although I agree that Bannister should have implemented a succession plan (and if not he should start), the candidates who were lining up for the post in Taghna Lkoll Land would have dealt a coup de grace to our economy.

    Behind door no. 1, we had Alfred Mifsud, who after the election was strutting around the Finance Malta annual event like he owned the place.

    Behind door no. 2, we had John Cassar White, enough said.

    Behind door no. 3, we had the Finco guy, shudder.

    Behind door no. 4, we probably had John Consiglio (the lone columnist on Maltastar) who last week after 10 years of EU membership discovered freedom of services…: http://www.maltastar.com/dart/20140116-there-for-the-taking

    All in all, I think retaining Bannister was the least of the evils.

    • H.P. Baxxter says:

      Then bring in a foreigner.

      I’ve had enough with the pathetic excuses about not finding the right candidates. PN used it all the time and look at the havoc they wreaked. Like appointing that Bannister.

      • Tabatha White says:

        Whoever is confirmed in that position by this Government will be a mouthpiece.

        It’s too close to heart, and have we seen evidence to the contrary?

        The only meritocratic appointment was that of Brian Schembri: the genuine socialist professional.

      • H.P. Baxxter says:

        Brian Schembri is a champ. And he doesn’t seem to harbour any resentment against colleagues/underlings/competitors, which is very un-Maltese.

        In the end, the National Orchestra has shown itself to be more meritocratic than any other publicly-funded body. Everywhere else, appointments are for life.

        And it’s not just a Labour thing.

      • Ghoxrin Punt says:

        You are wrong, Baxxter. Professor Bannister was a valid choice by the Nationalists and he remains a valid choice now.

    • Gahan says:

      And the mysterious man behind door no. 5 we had John Dalli.

  8. Jonathan says:

    We still need to figure out what David Curmi’s iced bun is.

  9. Mercury says:

    “instead of treating the post as some kind of lifelong sinecure”

    But that is a Bannister trait, just ask around at the University.

  10. curious says:

    What a country we’re living in. Amazing. It’s always all about money. Just look at this.

    Cost and time take priority over the health and safety of residents.

    Shame on you, Konrad. I will start believing what you say only when you buy a house in Marsaxlokk and take your children to live there.

    “Replying to the general concern David Galea, an Enemalta official, said locating the storage facility outside the port risked compromising the security of supply because of bad weather. However, he also acknowledged that it would be more costly and take more time – two things Enemalta did not have the luxury to afford.” (Times of Malta)

    • Jozef says:

      Fine, and how do they plan to convince the industry that it’s OK to risk and moor their ships next to the one envisaged as storage to perform an operation which, to date, has always been designed to take place miles out, or isolated from inhabited areas?

      It’s not a luxury, it’s painstaking standards which made of the LNG sector a direct competitor and global player.

      Don’t give me insurance, LNG suppliers and operators know they have a problem with public perception and taking such risks isn’t exactly a stategic move.

      More time eh? I bet design troubleshooting on a defined repeated simulation cannot be performed either. Is there anyone designing protocols and developing emergency operational time lags?

      When this design philosophy takes over, it’s not if, but when.

  11. winwood says:

    Even if in just 10 months, I have to admit that I have lost count of the number of arse-lickers. Nies bla kukki u opportunisti.

  12. Ghoxrin Punt says:

    Daphne, I am going to have to disagree with you on this one. Professor Bannister might be of a certain age, but he still has a lot to give to the financial services in Malta.

    He has a sterling reputation both in and outside of Malta, including with the top international financial players. Frankly speaking I shudder to think who Muscat could have replaced him with.

    I for one am happy that he has retained his position and my mind is at rest that there is someone in this position who holds Malta’s reputation at heart and who is not in it purely for the money.

    Professor Bannister has been instrumental in bringing over some very big names to Malta. I state this through first hand experience I have had with him, when bringing over large multinationals interested in setting up in Malta.

    • H.P. Baxxter says:

      Oh for heaven’s sake. Bannister’s been at his post since 1999. That’s FIFTEEN YEARS. Or do you people think that government officials are like kings or popes, to hold the post until death?

      Demm zaghzugh indeed.

      • Ghoxrin Punt says:

        No Baxxter, I do not believe that to be the case. And I do believe that a succession plan for the chairman’s position is necessary.

        I am also aware that there are a number of plans at the Malta Financial Services Authority, the first such one being the appointment of the deputy director general who will replace the current DG when he retires this August.

        Others will follow, including I am certain that of the chairman, who will hopefully be selected not on his or her political leaning but on his or her capability as was the case with Professor Bannister.

        Baxxter, I might also add that this succession planning should fall within the remit of the General Council of the MFSA as and when they consider it to be in the best interest of the MFSA and of the industry.

        Changing at the time there was a change in government with the way this government has awarded directorships and positions would not have been in the best interest of the industry as the person so appointed would have been tainted by the ridiculous appointments made to date. Immaterial of whether the person was competent or not.

  13. Robert Barathian says:

    When push came to shove, Mr. Bannister chose the easier and most profitable way out, despite the continuous flack he used to get from the Labour Party.

    It doesn’t seem to matter a lot to him if he is made to eat humble pie and made the fall guy when this citizenship-sale saga comes to its inevitable end, one way or another.

    It seems that retaining his post and salary are more important than retaining his dignity.

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