MGA shelled out thousands for a four-day trip to South Africa

Tista’ taqra bil-Malta

The Malta Gaming Authority spent thousands of euros on a four-day trip for its former CEO and two other officials to South Africa in 2017.

Former CEO Joseph Cuschieri splashed out thousands on a four-day trip to South Africa when he headed the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) in 2017.

Cuschieri, who was later appointed CEO of the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) in 2018, traveled to Johannesburg in South Africa with Edwina Licari and Heathcliff Farrugia, where they spent some R50,000, or more than 3 €000 for four nights in a hotel. This was revealed by the international site endtelegram.

The site posted copies of receipts showing how the MGA paid for a luxury hotel called Emperors Palace, where Cushieri and his colleagues stayed.

Newsbook.com.mt can also reveal that the MGA shelled out £11,640 in plane tickets purchased from Hamilton Travel.

Cuschieri left his post at the MGA and was named CEO of the MFSA without a call for interest. Shortly after, he signed Licari who also selected without appeal.

In 2020, Cuschieri suspended himself, then resigned from authority after Malta weather revealed he flew to Las Vegas with casino owner Yorgen Fenech in 2018, with Fenech footing the bill.

Fenech was later arrested and charged with orchestrating the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

During his time at the MGA, Licari had also drafted a letter for Fenech to his then-boss, Cushieri, to push for a casino license renewal.

Cuschieri’s resignation “ratified”; Licari’s ‘unjustified’ self-suspension

Cuschieri and Licari traveled together at least 38 times over a six-year period, costing taxpayers some €500,000, according to information tabled in parliament.

The Shift News had also revealed that Cuschieri, put on a €150,000 financial package in 2018 after being handpicked by the Joseph Muscat administration to lead the financial regulator, was also getting extra pay for attending board meetings. of directors, even if it was part of his duties. as CEO.

Heathcliff Farrugia, who was later named CEO of the gaming regulator, faces criminal charges following an influence peddling investigation with Yorgen Fenech.

Meanwhile, Licari resigned as FIAU Governor but kept his job at the MFSA with a salary of €100,000 a year.

Licari is still part of the MFSA’s executive committee and has the power to choose who is granted or revoked a license.

Former MGA CEO Heathcliff Farrugia charged with influence peddling – report

MFSA executive committee members include Christopher Buttigieg who in recent weeks has been accused by a local business in court of trying to convince them to sell the business to its competitor.

Although Cuschieri had to step down as CEO of the MFSA, he was appointed to another government board, the Malta Strategic Partnership Projects. On the same board is the ex-CEO of Infrastructure Malta, Frederick Azzopardi, who was arraigned earlier this week on charges of illegal work.

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