The Malta Independent 19 September 2020, Saturday

Updated (2) - Fuel consumption abuse: No case against Opposition Leader’s driver; Speaker reacts

Monday, 25 April 2016, 18:55 Last update: about 5 years ago

The Opposition Leader’s driver has been acquitted of all charges related to fuel consumption issues, Simon Busuttil announced this evening.

Addressing a press conference at Parliament, Dr Busuttil said that on 7 December he had suspended the driver, Tony Tabone, after allegations concerning abuse of fuel.

A magisterial inquiry had been launched and today, five months later, the inquiry had concluded that there was no case against the driver and the matter has now been closed and the suspension has been lifted.

Dr Busuttil said that some conclusions needed to be drawn from this situation.

First of all, he said, solidarity must be shown to the driver who, together with his family, passed through a difficult five months.

This case once again showed the different standards adopted by the PN when compared to those of the government. “I had taken action against my own driver, even on a small issue, while the Prime Minister has not taken any against Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri,” in spite of opening up secret companies in Panama.

When the driver’s issue came to public attention, the Labour Party had urged Dr Busuttil to shoulder political responsibility and had said that “I was involved in a serious case of public funds fraud”. They were wrong in their assertions, Dr Busuttil said.

This was a case in which a driver was used to cause political damage to the Opposition Leader, Dr Busuttil said.

He added that he expected the Speaker of the House of Representatives to find out who was behind this baseless report and see that this person or persons shoulder their responsibilities. At least, there should be a public apology to Mr Tabone.

He also thanked all the volunteers who over the past five months helped to “drive me around to continue carrying out my responsibilities.”

In a statement, the Speaker of the House of Representatives said that the investigation was initiated after it was discovered that for 30 consecutive months - except for three - all the fuel allowance allotted to the Opposition Leader was taken up. Wrong readings of the odometer by the driver also contributed to the Speaker's office seeking the intervention of the police.

The Speaker said that he never requested a magisterial inquiry, which was however initiated on the request of the police.

The Speaker said that at no time did he seek the suspension of Dr Busuttil's driver, and although Dr Busuttil inisted that the driver is suspended, he continue to receive his salary.

 

Court case

Driver's suspension

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