The Malta Independent 5 March 2024, Tuesday
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Following NAO report on ITS fraud: what is Police Commissioner waiting for? – ADPD

Saturday, 9 December 2023, 16:07 Last update: about 4 months ago

More than enough time has passed since the National Audit Office (NAO) report on the fraudulent contract awarded to Rosianne Cutajar, for the Commissioner of Police, Angelo Gafà to take action against ITS CEO Pierre Fenech, former Minister, Konrad Mizzi, and also MP Rosianne Cutajar, ADPD the Green Party said Saturday.

Fraud of public funds is, however, apparently not a priority Sandra Gauci and Ralph Cassar said during a press conference in front of the Police Headquarters in Floriana on Saturday. The investigation of the NAO was requested on behalf of the party by Carmel Cacopardo.

Cassar said that not only were no steps taken, but MPs, ministers and the Prime Minister are putting up a weak and pathetic defence of those involved in fraudFollowing the Prime Minister’s defence, Tourism Minister Clayton Bartolo chimed in defending Rosianne Cutajar. Clayton Bartolo also defended the unacceptable behaviour of ITS CEO Pierre Fenech who had the temerity to hide the contract even from the ITS Board of Governors. Joining Abela and Bartolo, in his usual tribal and partisan rhetoric, Rosianne Cutajar also found Government Whip Andy Ellul defending her.

Ellul is suggesting that government itself, of which he forms part, allows MPs of whatever stripe, to skive work in their public sector jobs. Andy Ellul suggests that it is acceptable for fake jobs to be dished out to the likes of Rosianne Cutajar, because ‘others’ also don’t show up for work. It seems that Andy Ellul is not bothered by Pierre Fenech and Konrad Mizzi’s abuse of power, he said. What’s more, it’s pertinent to also point out that to date former Minister and star candidate Konrad Mizzi, is still not facing justice for his part in the €5000 daily Electrogas kickbacks. Empty vessels like Andy Ellul make a lot of sound, to divert attention from serious cases of fraud, bad governance and corruption.

The fact remains that Pierre Fenech has no idea what good governance looks like. Those who are unable to refuse illegitimate “orders by their superiors” to commit fraud should be kicked out of their leadership roles both at ITS and MCC. His appointment as CEO of two entities also raises many questions. Moreover, Pierre Fenech is certainly unsuitable to run an educational institution. What example is he is giving to students? That it’s ok to facilitate fraud? That rules are not importantThat greed and pigging out is ok?

Chairperson Sandra Gauci said: Labour and PN are engaged in their usual tit-for-tat. We do not really care about their manoeuvres and political games, what we insist on is that MPs should be fulltimers to limit conflicts of interest and these kinds of fanthom jobs and appointments. What we have today is the unacceptable spectacle of shameless appointments of parliamentarians on boards, consultancies and jobs with the government. This is a failed nepotistic system, it’s bad governance and opens the door to abuse of power and conflicts of interest. It is not an MP’s job to sit on boards, to run government agencies, or to be a consultant to government – this is a travesty of parliamentary democracy.

The case of fraud at ITS is symptomatic of a system which enables abuse of power. We will continue to insist that Commissioner Angelo Gafà gets his act together, and takes action against the criminals in suits who seem to be somehow protected because they are close to powerIf you compare this case of Rosianne Cutajar’s phantom job with that given Melvin Theumathere are various similarities. Even in Melvin Theuma’s case, the Commissioner took a long time to take action.

How long will the Commissioner take to take action against Pierre Fenech, Rosianne Cutajar and Konrad Mizzi? So far nothing has happened, with government doing its utmost to diflect attention from this case, hoping that all will be forgotten. They are trying to normalise criminal behaviour because as long as that behaviour favours their insiders, it doesn’t really matter. This culture of impunity which has been going on for years, and as pointed out in the inquiry report following the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia, has become something which is accepted. It is somehow accepted that the law does not apply to certain people.

We insist that Pierre Fenech be removed from his dual-positions as CEO of ITS and MCC and immediately investigated for fraud. Former Minister Konrad Mizzi, on whose orders Fenech acted should also be investigated. Is Konrad Mizzi beyond the reach of the law? Is this the type of person, the ‘star’, that Labour boasted so much about?

Cutajar herself knew that she was pigging outshe boasted that she’ll join the ‘pigging out’ bandwagon in chats with Yorgen Fenech, she said. What pressure did Cutajar put on Mizzi and Fenech to be awarded a fraudulent contract and a phantom job? We want criminal action against all those involved in this clear case of fraud. We cannot allow this case of squandering of public money to be forgotten because of the procrastination of a Police CommissionerIt is simply unbelievable that even with a detailed public report by the Auditor General, the Police Commissioner still refuses to take action. Does he expect us to do the job that he has the power to do?

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