The Malta Independent 22 May 2019, Wednesday

PM lied when he said there were no negative reports on sacked fisheries director - MP

Giulia Magri Wednesday, 20 February 2019, 20:11 Last update: about 4 months ago

The Prime Minister lied when he said he was unaware of any reports of misconduct by suspended fisheries director Andreina Fenech Farrugia, PN MP Jason Azzopardi said on Wednesday.

Speaking during adjournment time, Azzopardi tabled two documents which he said show the government was aware of alleged misconduct.

Andreina Fenech Farrugia was suspended over claims that she asked Spanish tuna kingpin Jose Fuentes for payment. In a statement, Fenech Farrugia "categorically" denied any wrongdoing and said she was strongly rebutting the allegations in her regard

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Fenech Farrugia had previously served in the post until 2011, when she was removed. She was reinstated in 2013.

The government recently said that there were no reports or files on Fenech Farrugia and yesterday the Prime Minister informed journalists that there was nothing in her files to indicate wrongdoing.

“Not only did Joseph Muscat lie to journalists, but also to the public,” Azzopardi told Parliament.

Azzopardi said that in Fenech Farrugia’s file contained two particular reports: one from the IAID stating bad performance back when Fenech Farrugia was Director of Fisheries, and another, dating back to March 2013, where the EU Maritime Affairs and Fisheries director-general Lowri Evans  is said to have been “delighted” at Malta’s progress in the sector, especially since the sector had been in a “bad place” two years earlier.

“Why did the Prime Minister lie to the public by saying that there was nothing in her file when he knew about these reports,” Azzopardi asked.  

He further asked why the Labour Government, in 2013, re-appointed Fenech Farrugia, just weeks after EU officials noted improvement from an earlier bad situation.

Azzopardi said that it is important that these documents are analysed and brought to attention and for the Prime Minister to answer why Fenech Farrugia was placed back as Director of Fisheries. 

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