The Malta Independent 17 June 2024, Monday
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Former San Andrea School assistant head’s claims 'were rubbished by judicial inquiry' - school

Friday, 9 June 2023, 11:12 Last update: about 2 years ago

The independent judicial inquiry commissioned by San Andrea School rubbished most of the claims made by its former assistant head, who persists in making unsubstantiated and fallacious allegations that serve no purpose other than to tarnish the school’s reputation, the school said in a statement Friday

The San Andrea School Board said it has acted with utmost professionalism and transparency in investigating allegations of wrongdoing made in the school’s regard, contrary to claims made by its former assistant head Trevor Templeman whose sole interest has been to preserve his own reputation at the expense of the facts.

As Judge David Scicluna's 73-page independent inquiry concluded, several claims made by Templeman were unsubstantiated.

Contrary to the claim made by Templeman that San Andrea chose to “leak selective parts” from the independent judicial inquiry into allegations of wrongdoing, the school has in fact shared the full report with all school members and parents.

It should also be noted that Templeman’s claims that he was bullied when he spoke out about financial irregularities were shot down by the independent judge who documented that the School Board acted correctly throughout, while the former assistant head attempted to obscure a criminal case against him for cyberbullying by making a series of unfounded allegations.

Judge Scicluna stated in the inquiry report: “The series of emails written to Mr Templeman requesting him to put down his allegations in writing cannot by any stretch of the imagination be considered as persecution or intimidation. It was a (school) Board carrying out its duty. And these repeated requests were made before the cyberbullying case came to a head after a number of parents raised the issue In July 2022. The Board could not ignore this issue.”

Moreover, testimony from numerous witnesses in the inquiry points to incidents where Templeman himself acted aggressively and made fellow colleagues feel humiliated. Notwithstanding this, the then top management failed to take disciplinary action against him, the inquiry concludes.

Templeman also falsely claimed that the purpose of the judicial inquiry was focused on himself when the clearly stated brief was to examine allegations of wrongdoing, including:

— The way the Board handled cyberbullying allegations Templeman is facing before a criminal court, as well as his behaviour leading up to his resignation.

— The sustainability or otherwise of the allegations made by Templeman in September 2022 in relation to staff members.

— The extent to which the School Board implemented good governance rules in its proceedings and decisions.

— The conduct of inter-staff professional relations, particularly at management level, referring to handling of duties and chain of command.

Although allegations of financial impropriety were excluded from the scope of the judicial inquiry, Templeman failed to mention in his statement that these were being dealt with by top accounting and auditing firm PWC, with whom the judge consulted as part of his inquiry.

With regard to claims on the involvement of former board chairman Kevin Spiteri —whose company, KJM Enterprises, carried out €3.1 million worth of works on the school’s refurbishment and Multipurpose Hall — Spiteri said in evidence that these payments were made over a period of eight years and always on the basis of invoices provided.

With regard to Templeman’s reference to transactions made during the middle of the night, these are documented transactions posted into the accounting system mainly related to salaries and respective double entries.

Furthermore, at no point does the inquiry or PWC report refer to €100,000 passed on to Spiteri’s company “without any trace of invoice”, as claimed by Templeman. What the PWC report refers to is that the “difference between the values are due to an inherent limitation of the data”. This means there is an overlap to a previous or subsequent year that will be looked into in the second phase.

The school said it will be delving deeper into all these matters to ensure proper structures are in place and to determine if there is scope for any legal action.

“We thank Mr Templeman for his past contribution and without a doubt this chapter will lead to the adoption of better accountability and good governance practices. But we will not allow a situation where unsubstantiated claims continue to be made to the detriment of the school,” the School Board said.

“We have acted with utmost transparency to ensure we can start afresh and rebuild trust for the sake of all our children. Where things are broken we will fix them and ensure that any actions that needs to be taken will be taken,” the School Board said.

 

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