On 14 December 2021 Parliament’s Standards Committee authorised the publication of a case report by the Standards Commissioner concerning the engagement of a consultant in the Ministry for Education.
The case report looked into allegations that Education Minister Justyne Caruana had abused her power when she awarded a contract worth €15,000 by direct order to former professional footballer Danijel Bogdanovic. The contract required Mr Bogdanovic to carry out a study on the operations of the National Sport School and come up with recommendations for reform.
In his report the Commissioner concluded that Mr Bogdanovic was neither qualified nor competent to fulfil the contract. The Commissioner found that a study on the National Sport School which bore the name of Mr Bogdanovic as author had been written almost entirely by Paul Debattista, a consultant in Minister Caruana’s secretariat.
On this basis the Commissioner concluded that Minister Caruana’s actions in this case amounted to an abuse of a discretionary power and a breach of ethics. Moreover, a concerted effort had been made to conceal Mr Bogdanovic’s incompetence by assigning another person to carry out the work relating to the contract and by withholding this fact in the testimony given to the Commissioner.
On 10 December 2021 the Commissioner presented his case report, together with two volumes of supporting evidence, to the Standards Committee for its consideration. The Commissioner recommended that the Committee should consider referring the report to the police for possible investigation of those involved.
On 14 December 2021 the Committee met to consider the report. The Committee agreed to authorise the publication of the report and the two supporting volumes of evidence, with a minor redaction to a document in one of the volumes so as to avoid disclosing personal information unrelated to the case. The Commissioner had already made a redaction to the same document for a similar reason before submitting it to the Committee.
The Committee agreed to meet again to continue discussing the report.