Former PBS CEO John Bundy flagged serious misgivings during his tribunal about the way the national broadcaster was run, including the way money was spent on secret Junior Eurovision side deals and lunches.
Bundy spoke out to an Industrial Tribunal, which earlier today ordered PBS to pay him €226,500 in compensation for unfairly sacking him back in 2017.
The judgement reveals that the veteran broadcaster had flagged a number of issues to the tribunal.
Bundy, who was appointed CEO in August 2016, revealed how he had held meetings with the European Broadcasting Union about the Junior Eurovision Song Contest, which Malta hosted in November 2016.
He said the EBU’s chairman informed him that Malta had agreed to fork out the participation costs of six other countries following an agreement by the PBS chairman, who back then was Tonio Portughese.
Bundy said he tried to get Malta out of this deal and managed to scrap it for two countries, but ended up footing the bill for the other four – at a cost of €24,000 for the national broadcaster.
Bundy said that in September 2016 he received an invoice showing PBS had spent €1,477 in meals over a span of tend days. He then found out from the PBS financial controller that a whopping €10,000 had been spent on lunches over a two-year period.
Concerned at the excess costs, Bundy scrapped plans for the board of directors to convene at a luxury hotel in Gozo, seeing as PBS had its own professional boardroom.
Bundy said the board of directors had convened at the Kempinski Hotel twice before, one of which took place in 2013 in exchange for adverts by the hotel on PBS.
The former CEO said he tried to do something similar – a four-day cruise for Eurovision singers that would have been broadcast as a reality show during the final, in return for adverts. However, he was accused of engaging in dirty barter.
In 2014, the board of directors held another meeting at the Kempinski, this time forking out €10,000 from PBS’ coffers.
“[Bundy] stressed that it was unacceptable for a single night to cost PBS €10,000 and said he stamped his feet until he got his way,” the judgement reads.
Bundy was sacked in September 2017 after the PBS board delivered a unanimous verdict of no confidence following allegations that the national broadcaster’s acquisition of cars had breached procurement rules.
However, the Industrial Tribunal ruled his sacking was unfair, noting that the board had sacked him before even concluding an investigation into the breach.
Moreover, the tribunal noted that a number of high-ranking PBS officials were involved in the procurement process itself. This means the board meant Bundy carry the can for an administrative irregularity that several PBS managers had a role in.
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