The Malta Independent 25 September 2023, Monday
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Former assistant head welcomes San Andrea school inquiry findings

Wednesday, 7 June 2023, 17:55 Last update: about 5 months ago

The former assistant head of the San Andrea school has welcomed the findings of an inquiry which were published earlier today.

The inquiry was commissioned by the San Andrea school board in response to former assistant head Trevor Templeman's serious allegations of fraud, financial mismanagement, and other wrongdoing within the institution.

The inquiry was conducted by Judge David Scicluna at the request of the school board. The inquiring judge, among other things, found a historical culture of bullying and arrogance among the school's former staff, a statement by the board read.

Reacting, in a post on Facebook, Templeman welcomed the Judge Scicluna and PWC reports.

Lawyers Chris Said and David Bonello wrote, on behalf of Templeman, their client. They said that the Judge Scicluna report "affirms what our client has been stating from day one, that the school and its leaders lead with a culture of bullying, the same culture and bullying that our client was subject to, and which left our client with no option but to resign from the School. A case has been instituted against San Andrea regarding the constructive dismissal of our client and is currently sub-judice and which is the only pending case which is sub-judice in which our client is involved."

They said that from the terms and conditions imposed by the school on the Judge for this inquiry, the subject of inquiry was not the allegations of financial mismanagement, but Trevor Templeman himself and his actions.

"In fact in the engagement letter to the Judge the school expressly prohibited the Judge from investigating financial impropriety."

"It is interesting why the school had specifically excluded the financial impropriety when the matter which led to this report was the information put forward by our client. Our client notes that before informing the parents who willingly asked for this information, he had gone through all the normal school channels but was met with blank faces and the bullying increased. It has to be noted that should our client not have alerted the parents about this situation, no investigations would have been done and none of the reports, conclusions and recommendations put forward from the Judge and PWC will have seen the light of day."

They said that the reports were not fully published, "and the school chose to leak selective parts of the conclusions and not the full report. The school does not mention, in its selective leaks, that notwithstanding in its engagement to the judge it had excluded financial impropriety, the same Judge recommends the following regarding the school finances which were managed by Stefania Bartolo and Kevin Spiteri: 'All major donations received should be accurately and immediately registered and the relative receipts issued. Donors must be informed of the manner in which their donation has been used,'" and that "receipts should be issued for donations for school activities held for charitable purposes, the beneficiary charity announced and the amount collected announced."

Among other things, they said Judge Scicluna also put forward other recommendations regarding appointment of staff and general administration: "'the appointment of staff through calls for applications', 'Ensuring that staff selected have the proper qualifications,' 'Transparency in the marking system used for appointment of staff enabling unsuccessful candidates to know the reasons for not being selected.'"

They also welcomed the PWC report "which confirms the claims that he had originally put forward and which led to these reports, that the ex-chairperson of the school board Kevin Spiteri through his company KJM Enterprises Limited, received no less than €3.16 million from the school."

They said it "also confirms that funds had been transferred from the San Andrea school bank account to Kevin Spiteri's company bank account after school hours, in the middle of the night and during the weekends. Our client notes that it was Kevin Spiteri himself as the chairperson of the school board who had access to transfer such funds to his own company. Apart from this being a blatant conflict of interest this surely merits further investigation."

They noted that the school chose to only publish a selective summary of the PWC report and furthermore the report does not delve into the accounts of the years 2021 and 2022.

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