The Malta Independent 8 April 2020, Wednesday

Producers call on Ombudsman to investigate Film Commissioner Johan Grech

Tuesday, 24 March 2020, 11:17 Last update: about 14 days ago

The Malta Producers Association has asked the Office of the Ombudsman to investigate Malta Film Commissioner Johann Grech.

The MPA has been calling for Grech’s resignation after The Shift News reported that he was favouring a select number of film production companies when providing names to foreign film companies.

The association, which has also taken the matter to court, said that the fact that Grech remains in office and no investigation has been launched can only be described as “favouring the message that impunity reigns supreme.”

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The MPA said it met with Tourism Minister Julia Farrugia on 9 March. “Although the Minister agreed that things had been done wrongly and understood that, given his position, Johann Grech would indeed need to be suspended pending an investigation, little essential has been done.”

While the ministry has appointed RSM Malta to carry out an operational review of the Film Commission, which is necessary, this is “most certainly” a secondary matter given what’s at stake at this moment in time, the MPA said.

“Such a review seeks to correct procedure but falls far short from investigating the evident wrongdoing of a man who has changed the Film Commission into his fiefdom, working for the benefit of a few whilst denying opportunity for all the rest.”

The MPA said it appreciates that this is a time of crisis “but this should not mean an exemption for corrupt practices.”

It said it would present proof to a proper independent investigation once the Film Commissioner is removed, “and fear of retribution is thus mitigated.”

The association said the film industry in complete shut-down world-wide due to Covid-19 pandemic.

“This is the perfect time for Malta to straighten up its film industry and set things back on the right track for the good of the industry.”

 

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