The headship of Transport Malta is expected to be passed on to the current Armed Forces of Malta commander, Brigadier Jeffrey Curmi, bringing to it to two government agencies being led by military personnel, according to a report published today in the ‘Sunday Times of Malta’.
Having completed his 25-year service, Brig. Curmi is expected in the coming days to replace the current Transport Malta (TM) head Joe Bugeja who as agreed to relinquish his post. The side-stepping of Curmi from the Armed Forces of Malta (AFM) to TM is reliably understood to have been a decision taken by the Prime Minister himself.
This new appointment of Curmi as TM’s head makes him the second military officer to take up the leadership of a government agency. Last February, the former AFM Deputy Commander, Colonel Mark Mallia, was appointed as CEO of Identity Malta, only that since he hadn’t yet clocked his 25-years of service for his pension, he was retained on the AFM’s held-strength (which is a small group of individuals who are seconded or loaned to other government agencies like the Office of the President, the Malta Security Services, the Malta Council for Science and Technology or the Office of the Prime Minister’s defence directorate).
Headquarters AFM is now expected to be led by the current Deputy Commander, former military-aviator Colonel Clinton J. O’Neill.
Brig. Curmi’s remit appears to be quite specific in that he has been tasked to conduct a clean-up exercise of the transport regulator by “introducing discipline and order”, since TM has over several recent months been mired with various cases of misconduct and mismanagement by its personnel, which include corruption, abuse or sexual harassment. Curmi has, over his years of military service, also been a court-appointed expert in inquiries on explosives and diving incidents, having been trained locally and abroad in the UK, Italy and USA in Explosives Ordnance Disposal (EOD) and military diving operations, which covered most of his formative command years in the AFM.
Both graduates of the Royal Military Acedemy Sandhurst (RMAS) in the UK, Brigadier Curmi and Colonel Mallia saw their military career being extraordinarily fast-tracked within four months or so in 2013, on the return to power of the Labour Party. While Brig. Curmi was a close family friend through the explosives’ trade of the father of disgraced former Prime Minister Dr Joseph Muscat, Col Mark Mallia was a former Aide-de-Camp to ex-President Dr George Abela, the current PM’s father. Mallia also had close proximity to Joseph and Michelle Muscat.
Brig Curmi’s and Col Mallia’s appointments fall both in line with a new strategy being implemented by the Abela administration, which has seen the instalment of key replacement figures in several government agencies. At Infrastructure Malta, Trustin Farrugia Cann has taken over a week ago from Ing. Frederick Attard, while the Principal Permanent Secretary Mario Cutajar has been replaced on his retirement by the head of the state’s IT agency MITA, Tony Sultana. This week, the son of the former late Labour Agricultural Minister Freddie Micallef, Carlo, was also appointed chief executive at the Malta Tourism Authority, to replace Johann Buttigieg.