As choked up and teary-eyed Adrian Delia put it yesterday, there are hardly more deserving causes than the Dar tal-Providenza. “The tougher the challenge,” he said, “the more God will provide”.
So by his account, it must have been divine intervention that convinced a Tunisian company that has barely landed on the island to hire him to represent them as they donated €500,000, probably the biggest ever act of corporate charity in Maltese history.
It was quite spectacular, a bit like a giant wooden horse on the seashore.
Er, can we ask some questions, please?
Who is Catco Group, the company funding this enormous donation? Was this donation part of an extensive corporate social responsibility program? Why is this the only charity initiative undertaken by this brand that can be found online? Why is the Syrian CEO of a Tunisian company incorporated in 2019 so keen on funding the Dar tal-Providenza to this extent? Sure, his group appears to be very considerable but with 65 followers on its LinkedIn page, it doesn’t seem to be generally very keen on massive PR.
This was massive PR. €500,000 is not just a lot of money for the Dar tal-Providenza, 25% of all they raised at the telethon yesterday. It is a lot of money for anyone, even a multi-billion corporation.
Might I suggest that we should be kept informed about this donation? We should be told if the funds pledged have already been transferred, or perhaps placed in escrow. We should be told if the source of funds has been or is undergoing due diligence. We should be told what this Catco Group’s plans are for Malta given the splash they’ve made as they are being introduced here.
Of course, charity is welcome and Dar tal-Providenza should get all help it can get.
But here we have quite a few yellow flags furiously waving at us. A politically-exposed person – Adrian Delia – is involved. Never mind the fact that this is Adrian Delia we’re talking about, not exactly famous for financial clarity. Any transaction, let alone one of that size, where the agent is a politician, needs special attention.
Then there’s the reference made by Adrian Delia to Jeffrey Farrugia who is not a politically exposed person but, like Adrian Delia, is a football-league exposed person. Not exactly reassuring.
Of course, there will be those who will suggest that I am “envious” of Adrian Delia for his “great achievement”. He’s being praised by his loyalists as if he transferred his personal savings to the charity. Just a few minutes before he announced this Catco Group donation, Adrian Delia was on the same telethon pledging almost €30,000 in funds raised by his “helpers”. Now that was impressive. A cynic might have said he was really doing it to outshine his party and making himself missed. But what’s that in comparison with the benefit of the funds he raised?
These €500,000? They need looking into. Since Adrian Delia wrapped this donation in his own credibility, such as it is, he can start by telling us what checks he made to make sure this is clean and above board. And then give us the answers to the questions we’re all asking: Why? Why now? Why him?