The Malta Independent 11 August 2022, Thursday

FOI request, NAO investigation request filed on Malta Film Awards spending

Sabrina Zammit Tuesday, 1 February 2022, 11:29 Last update: about 7 months ago

Independent candidate Arnold Cassola has filed a request to the National Audit Office to investigate the expenses of the Malta Film Awards. 

Cassola has asked the NAO to investigate the claims that the Malta Film Awards invited presenter, David Walliams, was paid the sum of €400,000 out of the allocated €600,000 Malta Film Commission annual budget. 

However, there is also a doubt whether or not the sum awarded to Walliams could be more than the claimed €400,000 as Malta Film Commissioner Johann Grech has refused to answer questions. 

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The first-ever Malta Film awards happened on 29 January at the Mediterranean Conference centre. 

In his request to the NAO, Cassola remarked that apart from the presenter’s fee, other factors need to be considered when calculating the costs for the night, such as the amount of money spent on importing the equipment. 

In his email, he further questions whether or not it was cost-effective to employ David Walliams to tell the international audience well-known facts, namely that Malta has many churches, that we kill rabbits and that Malta is a country of tax evasion. 

“How much has this last assertion, which has humiliated us as a people and as a country, harmed the reputation of our country and consequently how many millions of euros has it lost to the country in foreign revenue?” Cassola said. 

Subsequently, Matthew Caruana Galizia has also announced that he will file a Freedom of Information request to establish how much the presenter has cost the Malta Film Commission. 

In a tweet, he also addressed David Walliams himself and asked him to “cut the chase” and tell everyone how much he was paid to speak at the Malta Film Award, which he also describes as having “turned into a party-political event.”

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