The Malta Independent 20 February 2019, Wednesday

MLP Will not tolerate corruption – Alfred Sant

Malta Independent Monday, 6 August 2007, 00:00 Last update: about 6 years ago

Malta Labour Party (MLP) leader Alfred Sant yesterday accused the government of “living comfortably” with corruption and bribery and said that his party is zero-tolerant towards such practices.

Speaking during a party activity in Paola, Dr Sant made a number of challenges: firstly he challenged Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi to eliminate prescription from corruption and bribery cases and to give a magistrate or judge full powers in investigating such cases. The Opposition Leader also challenged Gozo Minister Giovanna Debono to libel him after his accusations that the best contracts in Gozo are awarded to the same firm and his comments on her defence of a member of her secretariat who allegedly forged an education certificate.

He said on 18 July, the last parliamentary session before the summer recess, when asked if there was anyone investigated in relation with that case, Mrs Debono said she is not aware of such investigation. Dr Sant insisted that Mrs Debono lied in Parliament in order to protect the accused, who is also her canvasser. In the light of these facts, said the Labour leader, the Prime Minister, who is currently on a visit in Australia, should contact the minister and ask for an explanation. The Maltese also expect an explanation, said Dr Sant.

The Labour leader said the country has been hit by other disgusting stories, such as the dumping of dog carcasses at Sant’ Antnin Recycling Plant. There are two incinerators in Malta that are not working as they should be, said Dr Sant; the first being the St Luke’s Hospital Incinerator while the other is the Lm4 million Marsa abattoir which has never been used.

Dr Sant accused the government of trusting people who have been accused of mismanagement. He referred mainly to Richard Muscat, whose term in office as ambassador to Ireland has been renewed. He said Mr Muscat was accused of mismanagement by the Auditor General after the Malta-Libya-owned Voice of the Mediterranean radio station filed for bankruptcy. Dr Sant said the Commission Against Corruption never investigated Mr Muscat, adding that the government hindered the Parliamentary Accounts Committee’s investigation.

The Labour leader fired a broadside at the former PN-led Mosta local council. “The mayor and executive secretary are the two officials who have to take care of the council’s finances,” said Dr Sant. “However, money disappeared instead of being deposited during Joe Demartino’s tenure as mayor of Mosta.”

The Lm300 million Mater Dei Hospital, said Dr Sant, is another example of mismanagement. The government, said Dr Sant, had enough time to plan how to start running the hospital immediately after it was handed to it, but this has not happened. He also criticised the “public transport that takes ghosts to Mater Dei.” He said the service costs between Lm60,000 to Lm70,000 a month to run, while a number of volunteers (Life Cycle) undergo harsh training to embark on a tour in order to collect thousands of liri to donate to the renal unit.

MLP deputy leader for parliamentary affairs Charles Mangion said the majority of the Maltese are currently worse off than they were five years ago. He said the Maltese are taxed 70 per cent more than the average European, while in the last three years, the income of the Maltese has decreased to 33 per cent of the European average.

Dr Mangion, who is also the MLP finance spokesman, said the government’s pre-budget document has no substance as its proposals are all frivolous. He said the document omits a chapter on how to combat corruption.

He criticised the government for failing to curb the price of medicines, quoting Prime Minister Gonzi’s promise that prices would have fallen by last February, and Parliamentary Secretary Edwin Vassallo, who pledged to unleash price orders if prices remained high.

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