The Malta Independent 21 January 2021, Thursday

Tancred Tabone fails in bid to stop criminal proceedings over oil scandal

Wednesday, 23 December 2020, 13:02 Last update: about 28 days ago

The constitutional court has refused Tancred Tabone’s request to have criminal proceedings against him removed despite finding that his human rights were breached by parliament.

Tabone, a former chairperson at Enemalta, was charged with corruption and bribery in February 2013 after MaltaToday revealed scandalous oil purchases by the State company.

The criminal proceedings are still underway but parliament’s Public Accounts Committee started probing a National Audit Office report on oil buying by Enemalta.

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Tabone had appeared in front of the PAC and refused to answer any questions. Four years ago, Tabone won a constitutional case in which he claimed his right to a fair trial was breached by the PAC because it created prejudicial pre-trial publicity.

PAC meetings on the NAO report have since been suspended indefinitely.

However, in a second case decided by Judge Joseph R. Micallef last week, the First Hall of the Civil Court in its constitutional jurisdiction refused Tabone’s request to have the criminal proceedings expunged as a result of the breach in human rights.

Micallef ruled that despite finding that Tabone’s rights were breached by the PAC hearings, the consequence was not the removal of criminal proceedings against him.

The judge said the ruling has to be communicated to the criminal court hearing Tabone’s case so that it could be guided accordingly when it comes to decide on the accused’s fate.

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