Johan Galea might be Malta’s most powerful Permanent Secretary after having been entrusted with some of the country’s largest portfolios, which includes justice, transport, infrastructure and capital projects.
Galea has been serving as the Perm Sec at two of Malta’s principal ministries, the Ministry for Justice and the Ministry for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects, under Jonathan Attard and Aaron Farrugia respectively.
Galea, a former headmaster, has served with the Justice Ministry since 2016, after spending a few years moving around through different government departments. He joined the Ministry for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects in February 2022, right before the general election.
The only other Perm Sec that operates at two ministries is Mark Musu. However, his ministries, the Ministry for Social Policy and the Ministry for Social Accommodation, have significant overlap in policy direction.
The same cannot be said for Galea.
The justice portfolio alone requires significant attention following internationally-mandated reforms and the abysmal court system, which has some of the longest delays in Europe.
Transport and infrastructure, meanwhile, are their own beasts given Malta’s never-ending traffic issues and the continuation of Malta’s multi-million euro investment in roads and potentially a metro system.
Through that ministry, Galea has been granted access to a wealth of funds that are unrivalled by any of his counterparts. Ian Borg was shifted to the Foreign Affairs Ministry just two months after Galea entered the scene, with sources suggesting that Abela was attempting to curb the influence Borg was able to accumulate.
Questions will now be asked why Abela handed Galea the role. Permanent Secretaries earned roughly €42,000 per year, and it is as yet unclear whether Galea is paid double for his dual role.
What do you think of Galea’s dual role?