The Malta Independent 5 August 2021, Thursday

PN, government MPs ‘available’ to resume debate on Rosianne Cutajar report but no date set so far

Wednesday, 21 July 2021, 13:54 Last update: about 14 days ago

Despite both government and Opposition MPs saying they are available to resume a meeting of the standards committee to discuss a report on Rosianne Cutajar, no date has been set yet for the next meeting.

Parliament’s ethics committee is currently discussing a report by Standards Commissioner George Hyzler which found a prima facie breach of ethics by the former Parliamentary Secretary over her role in a controversial property deal.

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Cutajar is alleged to have pocketed around €45,000 in a failed deal involving 17 Black owner Yorgen Fenech. The deal fell through when Fenech was arrested over his alleged link in the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia. The would-be seller, Joseph Camilleri, is demanding that Cutajar and her associate, Charles Farrugia ‘it-Tikka’ refund the brokerage fee they had been paid. Cutajar allegedly pocketed another €9,000 from Fenech.

The committee last week voted to investigate the matter further before deciding on whether to adopt the report.

Last week’s meeting, however, was cut short when Speaker Anglu Farrugia walked out amid shouting from the two sides. There was disagreement over who the committee should summon next, with the Opposition saying it wanted to summon Charles Farrugia and the government MPs saying they wanted to bring in tax commissioner Marvin Gaerty. The Opposition MPs agreed to summon Gaerty but insisted it still wants to summon Farrugia, who has since claimed he pocketed the entire brokerage fee, in an apparent attempt to take the fall for Cutajar. He has revised his tax return for 2019 to reflect previously undeclared earnings of €120,000.

Speaker Farrugia later said he would be speaking to both sides so that they could agree on a date for the next meeting.

Earlier this week, the Opposition MPs – Karol Aquilina and Therese Comodini Cachia - told this newsroom that they had informed the Speaker that they were available and willing to hold another meeting.

Speaking to this newsroom on Wednesday, Edward Zammit Lewis said he and fellow committee member Glenn Bedingfield were also available.

“We respect what the Speaker does, and we also respect Hyzler’s report, though it’s our duty to discuss it, and we are available to meet again whenever is required,” he said.

On Monday, the Speaker told this newsroom that the committee should be agreeing on a date “in the coming days.” Asked if there were any availability issues from the government side, Farrugia said this was not the case.

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