The Malta Independent 26 May 2017, Friday

PN MP calls for removal of IAID quantity surveyor who was until recently employed by FTS

Monday, 20 March 2017, 21:27 Last update: about 3 months ago

A Quantity Surveyor commissioned by the IAID to help in the investigation into claims of corruption at the Foundation for Tomorrow’s Schools was previously employed by the same foundation, PN MP George Pullicino said this evening.

He was speaking, during adjournment time, on the case surrounding Edward Caruana, a former FTS official who was allegedly taking bribes from contractors.

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The Malta Independent on Sunday reported last week how the police were refusing to divulge any details on their investigations and also that Mr Bartolo has until now not been questioned by the police.

Mr Pullicino said the quantity surveyor was a certain Mark Anthony Debono who, he said, was employed by the FTS until a few weeks ago. “It is incredible how no one saw this blatant conflict of interest. I expect the IAID to remove this person and appoint a quantity surveyor who is truly independent.”

Mr Pullicino also claimed that a person who was “close to Edward Caruana” had been given a €43,000 direct order to act as a quantity surveyor.

He also claimed that a company was given  €40,000 tender for the provision of some plants that were put up around whiteboards.

He demanded to know what stage has the police investigation reached, and insisted that both investigations (by the police and the IAID) had to be carried out in a serious manner.

The allegations against Edward Caruana first came to light when a Gozitan contractor claimed that Mr Caruana, then an official at the Foundation for Tomorrow’s Schools, had asked for a bribe. The allegations resurfaced again when FTS Chairman Philip Rizzo resigned, and claimed inaction by the minister on the allegations.

Mr Bartolo says he wanted to wait until he had more solid evidence against Mr Caruana to have a stronger case. But the Opposition has accused him of having procrastinated and that he attempted to cover up corruption that took place under his watch.

In his resignation letter, former FTS CEO Philip Rizzo accused Mr Bartolo of trying for months to dissuade him from reporting abuses of fraud and corruption involving his canvasser.

 

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