The Malta Independent 26 June 2022, Sunday

Arnold Cassola requests Standards Commissioner investigation into Ian Borg metro direct orders

Monday, 16 May 2022, 10:25 Last update: about 2 months ago

Independent candidate Arnold Cassola has requested an investigation by the Standards Commissioner into a spate of direct orders handed out by Ian Borg to the Labour Party’s events supplier.

In his request to Standards Commissioner George Hyzler, who soon will depart his role to take up a place at the European Court of Auditors, Cassola requested an investigation into, amongst other things, whether Borg had used his ministerial role in order to help his own personal electoral campaign.

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“I know that you are probably preparing to move into your prestigious and well-deserved new role in Luxembourg and that you probably don’t have the mind for this, but in our country which is led by dirty and lying politicians, there’s always something coming up,” Cassola said in his preface to the investigation request.

The Malta Independent revealed earlier this month that that The Events Company – otherwise known as TEC Ltd – was the beneficiary of 21 separate direct orders from the Ministry for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects – then led by Ian Borg – worth a total of €434,492.04.

The direct orders, all awarded on 8 November 2021 except for one which was awarded on 4 October 2021, are listed as simply being for the “Malta Metro.” It is not clear what exactly the direct orders were awarded for.

TEC Ltd is well known as being the supplier for the stages used by the Labour Party for their political events, including for mass meetings, and have been the beneficiaries of many government direct orders since the PL came to power.

In his request to Hyzler, Cassola seeks an explanation as to how and why Borg decided to award almost half a million euros in direct orders to TEC Ltd in a single day.

He also wants Hyzler to investigate whether the minimum of six tents and associated event items which Borg used during his electoral campaign from TEC Ltd “where a sort of commission” in return for the direct orders.

If they weren’t a commission, Cassola noted, it means that Borg paid them out of his own pocket.  This however means, he continued, that Borg broke electoral finance law by exceeding the €40,000 threshold of spending per candidate.

Cassola also asked Hyzler to verify Borg’s declarations on the expenses related to the Malta Metro were truthful.

Information tabled in Parliament by then-Transport Minister Ian Borg in November last year –ironically on the same day that these direct orders were approved – showed that a total of €76,981.76 was spent on the press conference event which saw the Malta Metro announced, which was held on 2 October - far below the amount of money spent on direct orders to TEC Ltd.

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