From Parliamentary Questions concerning information on consultants appointed by Joe Bannister and Andre Camilleri at the Malta Financial Services Authority from 2008 today, quite an extensive list of names emerges. All of these, we are informed have been appointed by direct order. Over the five year period one cannot but note that certain names continue to feature every year within these five years. From this information one may conclude that these foreign entities seem to have become a normal feature within the MFSA set-up. Have these become so indispensable to our country’s financial services sector?
One particular name that continues to appear on the MFSA’s list of consultants is that of Anthony Fisher / Interlaw. From the Minister’s reply, Fisher was paid on average 100,000 Euros every year for his ‘services’ on legislation. Andre Camilleri as the Director General at this Authority is tasked with this responsibility. What was Fisher’s role precisely? If one googles the name of Fisher / Interlaw, it immediately pops up that this person/ law firm is based in Gibraltar. He runs a trust - Bonita Trust. On his website he prides himself that:
‘ He has been an advisor to the Maltese Government for over 15 years and currently sits as a member of the implementation committee of the Malta Financial Services Authority responsible for overseeing changes to Malta’s financial regulatory system’. Now we cannot recall that we had to amend our financial services legislation in each and every one of these last 15 years he says he has been advising the MFSA on legislative changes. Another question which immediately springs to mind is that over all these years, has this person been therefore paid over one million, five hundred thousand Euros? One other question put to the Minister of Finance who is responsible for this Authority was to declare how much these consultants were paid since the first time they had been appointed.
He still has to give his reply. Who and how were these payments of thousands of Euros authorised? Why such huge amounts of money were paid by direct order? What are Bannister and Camilleri hiding? Is there something very fishy in these appointments over all the years? The people whose money is being entrusted to be administered by these Government appointed persons need to know, and told the whole truth.