Marouska Pisani Bugeja, who until two years ago was a top official at the PN’s media arm, was recently put on the government’s payroll with a financial package of over €34,000 for a part-time role, The Sunday Times of Malta is informed.
Ms Pisani Bugeja was recruited directly by Parliamentary Secretary for EU Funds and Social Dialogue Aaron Farrugia, without a public call, to advise him on “matters related to communications”.
However, the 36-year-old has kept her full-time job as business development manager at WeMedia, the company which produces TV programmes for the State broadcaster, including the popular programme Xarabank.
Asked whether her full-time job, which involves seeking new business opportunities for WeMedia including sponsorships and adverts, and her job with the parliamentary secretary might put her in a conflit of loyalties, a spokeswoman for Dr Farrugia said “Ms Pisani Bugeja has no conflict of interest”.
Politicians, particularly novice ones like Dr Farrugia, are known to be keen to appear on mainstream TV stations and popular programmes in order to boost their political profile.
Sources close to Net TV, the PN’s TV station, told the newspaper that many were surprised by the sudden departure of Ms Pisani Bugeja from her top post at the station in 2016.
As Dr Farrugia’s advisor, Ms Pisani Bugeja is contracted to work 30 hours a week for the parliamentary secretary and is paid €18.23 per hour. She is also entitled to a communication allowance of €815 a year and a car allowance of €4,659 per annum, boosting her part-time job remuneration to over €34,000.
Asked to state what expertise Ms Pisani Bugeja holds when it comes to EU funds and social dialogue, Dr Farrugia’s restricted portfolio, the spokeswoman did not reply.
However she said that Ms Pisani Bugeja has “18 years of experience in the media industry”.
As a parliamentary secretary, Dr Farrugia already employs a full-time official as a communications coordinator whose job description includes media advice. A former Malta Today reporter was employed in this job.
Last year, after her appointment with the parliamentary secretary, Ms Pisani Bugeja was also made company secretary of Dot Media & Consulting Ltd, a private media company owned by Duncan Pisani and Kearon Bruno, the vice-president of the Forum Zgħazagħ Laburisti.
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