The Malta Independent 27 September 2023, Wednesday
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Tancred Tabone, Frank Sammut charged with corruption

Malta Independent Tuesday, 19 February 2013, 15:07 Last update: about 10 years ago

Former Enemalta chairman Tancred Tabone and oil consultant Frank Sammut today were charged with bribery and money laundering in connection with the oil procurement scandal. The accusations go back to between 2000 and 2005 for Mr Tabone and from 2000 to 2004 for Mr Sammut.

Mr Tabone, 60, of Sliema, pleaded not guilty and was released on bail in spite of objections from the prosecution.

Frank Sammut, 62, of Tarxien, was also arraigned with similar charges in a separate hearing and was granted bail under the same conditions. He also pleaded not guilty.

Both were accused of eight charges which range from bribery, money laundering and influencing decisions. They were also accused of using their position to their advantage.

Mr Tabone, a former president of the Chamber of Commerce, and Mr Sammut denied the charges. Bail was set against a personal guarantee of €15,000 and a deposit of €3,000.

Mr Tabone and Mr Sammut were arraigned a week after a presidential pardon was granted to businessman George Farrugia, the local agent of Dutch oil company Trafigura.

Both accused were warned by Magistrate Gabriella Vella not to make any contact with Mr Farrugia.

Lawyers Gianella de Marco and Gianluca Caruana Curran appeared for Mr Tabone and Joe Giglio for Mr Sammut.

Inspector Angelo Gafa told the court that company director Tabone, 60, of Sliema, had observed police bail conditions and always answered police calls when they sent for him. He said Mr Tabone suffers from high blood pressure and once when being interrogated had to be taken to hospital.

Magistrate Vella called on the court registrar to draw up an inventory about Tabone, both as regards companies he is connected with, and in his name, and to freeze his assets.

The prosecution objected to bail because this was a case of corruption in which there were witnesses to be heard, including George Farrugia, who has turned state evidence, he should not be allowed bail for fear that evidence might be contaminated.

The case, the prosecution said, carries a maximum 14-year jail sentence.

Dr Giannella de Marco said the only witness was George Farrugia, who is not being prosecuted as he has been given a Presidential pardon. Farrugia knows the burden he carries and that he can lose everything.

Dr de Marco said Tabone had replied to all questions and following this the police allowed him bail, which he has observed since 21 January. He had been questioned several times and allowed to leave and he had observed all conditions imposed by the police. His condition should be considered, Dr de Marco said. He has suffered from it for 15 years and recently has had to spend four days in hospital because of it.

Magistrate Vella granted bail, saying that in spite of the seriousness of the case she could not see why Tabone should be denied bail. Tabone is not to speak to Farrugia, is to sign in at the police station every Monday and Friday and deposit €3,000 and issue a personal guarantee of €15,000.

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