The Malta Independent 30 July 2021, Friday

NGO asks police to investigate Rosianne Cutajar over bag of oranges gift; Cutajar hits back

Friday, 18 June 2021, 11:45 Last update: about 2 months ago

NGO Repubblika have asked the police to investigate Rosianne Cutajar over bags of oranges which she handed out as gifts at an elderly care home in her home-town on Thursday.

Speaking outside the police depot, Repubblika president Robert Aquilina said that the gifting of food broke a section of the General Elections Act and that as a result, they have sent a letter to the Police Commissioner Angelo Gafa to open an investigation into Cutajar.

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Cutajar posted on social media on Thursday showing herself in a visit to the Smartcare Dar Pinto home in Qormi, her hometown, where she handed out a small bag of oranges to residents.

Under Maltese law, giving out free food, drinks, or anything else in an attempt to influence their electoral choices is illegal, and people found guilty are liable to a fine of up to 1,160 or a six-month prison term.  The law however is never enforced.

“We once again wait for the state’s institutions to enforce the law that regulates clientelism, transactional politics and other abuses in the democratic process, to take decisive actions to end illegal practices once and for all,” Repubblika president Aquilina said.

On her part, Cutajar clapped back at Repubblika’s report, saying that the NGO’s argument that people can be bought with an orange “insults people’s intelligence.”

The PL MP – who is currently without a ministerial portfolio pending a standards investigation into allegations of financial ties with Yorgen Fenech – made it a point to mention that Repubblika President Robert Aquilina is PN MP’s Karol Aquilina’s brother.

“This behaviour is part of a systematic character assassination campaign against me”, Cutajar said.

She said that the oranges were merely a small gesture which was appreciate by both the residents and the home staff.

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