Amen! That’s how Ira Losco reacted to the news that Malta’s Eurovision 2016 spend will not be made public.

Taking to Facebook, the two-time Eurovision finalist expressed relief at the Maltese data commissioner’s decision to keep the cost of the country’s Stockholm campaign secret.

The commissioner’s ruling comes on foot of a Freedom of Information request filed by The Times of Malta in May.

The newspaper sought a full breakdown of all spending by PBS and other public entities after reports of a “limitless” budget emerged in the contest’s aftermath.

However, the original request was turned down on the basis that the costs related to a commercial partnership and that PBS had no obligation to release details of “commercial activities”.

Contending that the administration of funds by a state-owned body, regardless of the source, was in the public interest, The Times asked the island’s data commissioner to review the broadcaster’s decision.

At the same time, the publication printed purported spending figures obtained from “leaked” documents.

Now, after a “thorough investigation”, the commissioner has upheld PBS’s initial refusal to provide the data, stating that no public funds went towards Malta’s efforts in this year’s contest.

The ruling also backed up PBS CEO and Maltese Head of Delegation Anton Attard’s assertion that PBS had made an “overall profit” from the Sweden trip.

Ira Losco’s response to the data commissioner’s decision

Ira Losco – the country’s 2016 representative – welcomed the commissioner’s findings. Writing to her fans on social media, the “Walk On Water” singer thanked her supporters, including private investors.

Quoting the commissioner, the new mother shared her hope that the report would satisfy those seeking answers. The message is signed off with a series of kisses.

Amen . Again I would like to thank all those who have supported me throughout my career and precisely because of all those years of working relationships, many were on board during Eurovision as private investors alongside new ones. The commissioner established, “in a clear and factual manner”, that no public funds were actually used and the claims of a profit have now been backed up after having examined all expenses. One hopes that the answers in the report below to those questions raised are satisfying and equally weighed with what was rightful to ask amidst all allegations. Patience is a virtue and honesty is always the best policy in life .xxx

The leaked documents

Reports of PBS’ alleged extortionate Eurovision spend first emerged in early summer.

The Times of Malta received leaked documents purporting to reveal Malta’s Eurovision 2016 expenses. A source told The Times that the cost of the hotel and flights alone totalled €108,264 — an amount that supposedly equates to the delegation’s entire spend in previous years.

The leaked documents showed expenses over €200,000, but these did not include the Maltese Eurovision preview party, and travel and accommodation for Ira Losco and her team on their promotional tour, which included stops in Amsterdam, Riga, Moscow and London. The newspaper also revealed that the broadcaster footed the bill for travel and accommodation for singers and delegations from other countries to travel to Malta “as part of the lobbying system”.

The estimated €80,000 hologram coat designed by Alex Zabotto-Bentley was also missing from the documents, as was the pricey digital projection system. This staging element was heavily promoted but eventually dropped from the performance after it did not function as expected.

The reported high spending drew much criticism, with even the the Archbishop of Malta Mgr Charles Scicluna speaking out against the expenditure.

How the Maltese taxpayers responds to the data commissioner’s findings remains to be seen. For her part, Ira Losco appears to have the backing of her fans, with her stance on the matter being met with largely positive comments.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.

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Polegend Godgarina
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Polegend Godgarina

Walk on Water was just another Mediocrityfestivalen reject that was in no ways memorable. I’m surprised it flopped that hard, but I wasn’t expecting it to win for sure.

Colin
Guest
Colin

@Davve

My thoughts exactly. Ira did good vocally and the song is rather nice. But the whole thing was just mere ok, nothing more or less. When the last card came, I was hoping for Estonia, Iceland or even Moldova over Malta. But hey, at least it wasn’t Bosnia and Herzegovina or Montenegro.

KennyESC
Guest
KennyESC

@Drakula, in 2002 she had “that sparkle”! I think it is because it was a veeeeery tough year.
I mean – in final there were:

Måns Zelmerlow 2.0/Sergej Lazarev
(The) Screaming (Korean) Queen(s)/Dami Im
Crimean Lady screaming with anti-Russia song/Jamala
France actually comprending the contest/Amir
Who stole Margaret’s place/Michal Spzak(just joking)
Poli Genova wanting revenge(and she almost got it!) asd
Sweden-nobody *TALKING*but still a favourite/Frans
Belgium with a happy and joyful act/Laura Tesoro
The Croatian Powerhouse/Nina Krajli?
The Disney-like Princess/Zoë

And others..I mean it was a very tough final. Ira’s song just couldn’t get trough. 🙁

(J)ESC Fanatic
Guest
(J)ESC Fanatic

@ESCFan

I agree, I love the studio version of “Walk On Water” but live it clearly lacks energy and the staging was pretty bland too. I’m not surprised the televote placed your country so low, your entry just didn’t stand out.

ellie
Guest
ellie

I remember clearly that around the time of semifinal rehearsals the Estonian head of delegation Mart Normet said in an interview for ETV that a certain country (he didn’t name it, but it’s pretty clear who he was talking about) wasted around €250 000 for their stage show only and it didn’t even work out in the end. I didn’t know it was a secret? Did they spend even more in total?

Avstriya
Guest
Avstriya

I hope wikileaks soon releases more about these corruption of the Maltese Hillary

Drakula
Guest
Drakula

I think that the main reason behind Malta’s poor placing (cuz it seems that many was expecting a high result) this year was Ira’s lack of charisma. Of course, the staging was also boring but for me unfortunately Ira itself was the main problem. She has not got THAT sparkle which for example Alexander Rybak, Lena, Loreen, Valentina Monetta, Nina Sublatti and many other performers have. So its natural for me that she didnt get the result almost everyone was expecting.

ESCFan
Guest
ESCFan

I am Maltese and I thought the studio version was amazing yet live it just didn’t spark. Also, I am not against using money but if you are at least use it where it would really help the act. But please, @Deli, how is it that you’re bringing the argument that Malta bribed other countries? There is no information on that so you’re just speculating and accusing 😉

khm
Guest
khm

Since they don’t want to say, it means they spent more than it was planned.

deli
Guest
deli

Didn’t they want to reveal how much they bribed juries in other countries? How surprising…

Davve
Guest
Davve

I was just surprised that the stage act was so neutral and average. Since the music video was great, and indicated that her performance would be similar.

Davve
Guest
Davve

In my opinion the stage performance was good vocally. But purely stage wise it was just boring. They could have done so much to make it better. I also think that Iras pregnancy halted any kind of spectacular stage act. Overall a great song that did not translate on to the ESC stage.

However, I am surprised that Malta only placed 21th in the televote. But I guess her performance was forgetable.

Roelof Meesters
Guest
Roelof Meesters

She should host JESC 2016

Robyn Gallagher
Editor

I thought they would have welcomed the opportunity to open up their books and put an end to all the rumours and speculation once and for all. They must still be hurting from only placing on 21st with the televote.

Adam
Guest
Adam

All I can think about is “200,000 euro for 12th place?” lol 🙂

Ron
Guest
Ron

Malta really went out this year. I mean they spared no efforts. Hey at least they didn’t spend over a $1,000,000 dollars like Azerbaijan did in 2010.

mocosuburbian
Guest
mocosuburbian

PBS should just own up to the fact that they tried to win the contest for Malta in a really tough year and just wasn’t able to do it :/

Pollaski 3: Rise of the Machines
Guest
Pollaski 3: Rise of the Machines

@Chicken Kyiv

Easily. She looked at the script PBS gave her and typed it in. Not very hard.

Chicken Kyiv?
Guest
Chicken Kyiv?

How can she talk about honesty being the best policy, and then trying to hide stuff from the public?