HomeEntertainmentLionel Gerada back in private business as MTA ignores conflict of interest

Lionel Gerada back in private business as MTA ignores conflict of interest


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Lionel Gerada, former minister Konrad Mizzi’s person of trust as Head of Events at the Malta Tourism Authority, is once again in a conflict of interest in which he is conducting private business on the side while keeping a hold on the high-spending events sponsored by the government entity.

Gerada, who has a criminal record related to embezzlement, has already been exposed for his close relationship with certain event organisers who in past years were given millions of euros in sponsorships from the MTA.

The Shift is now informed that Gerada and another events executive at the MTA working under his remit, events executive Toyah Zammit, have involved themselves in a new events and entertainment business called WD Entertainment Group Ltd, and in what is a clear conflict of interest.

Contacted by The Shift to explain how their names were included in a private events company’s publicity material when they are supposed to be working in the MTA’s events section, neither Gerada nor Zammit replied.

The Shift is informed that the MTA’s top brass – Chairman Gavin Gulia and CEO Carlo Micallef – have already been given information about the employees’ moonlighting but have so far not taken any corrective action.

Minister Clayton Bartolo pledged last year to demote Gerada after he and other MTA events employees were found to have booked, without authorisation, expensive hotel rooms funded by the authority for them to stay in during a two-week 2021 Christmas event in Valletta.

According to The Shift’s information, nothing of the sort has happened.

Instead of demoting him, the MTA merely changed Gerada’s nomenclature from ‘Head of Events’ to ‘Artistic Director’ while keeping him on his previous remuneration package.

Nor did the MTA appoint a new Head of Events to replace Gerada and it retained as its events factotum, just under a different title.

Registered only last October and fronted by party organiser 44-year-old Kevin Abela, the company is offering event and conference management. It is also hiring out audio-visual facilities to third parties.

Although Gerada and Zammit do not appear as shareholders of the new set-up, their names are clearly indicated in publicity material being distributed by the new events company.

Gerada’s and Zammit’s names are clearly indicated in publicity material being distributed by the new events company.

Both Gerada and Zammit are listed as the contact persons for those who would like to use the services of ‘WE DO’ (We Entertain and Dream On). Interestingly, the company’s bank account is registered with a new digital bank only recently registered in Malta, Wamo bank.

Gerada made a name for himself when he was inserted into the MTA by disgraced former minister Konrad Mizzi, who made him responsible for its multi-million-euro events sponsorship budget.

Under Gerada’s lead, the MTA’s sponsorship expenses shot up from €2 million to €6 million within the space of a year, with most of the funds awarded to companies known to be close to him.

Among these was 365 Entertainment Group which had organised six different MTA-sponsored events in a short time frame that set the state coffers back hundreds of thousands of euros.

Questions sent to the MTA about the conflicting private business interests of its Artistic Director and an events executive have not been answered.


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