The Malta Independent 19 April 2024, Friday
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PN ‘disgusted’ that Transport Malta found no evidence of rackets in internal investigation

Andrea Caruana Tuesday, 2 April 2024, 13:09 Last update: about 16 days ago

The Nationalist Party expressed its disgust at news that an internal investigation by Transport Malta somehow found no wrongdoing, despite the fact that the majority of maritime fines issued during the past years were never collected.

PN MP Ivan Castillo said that the party has been revealing scandals with regards to Transport Malta for the last 9 months, specifically its maritime sector, that have now been backed up by independent journalists.

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Castillo noted that both the party and the police have evidence of this wrongdoing, and cited MaltaToday’s story last weekend which reported that at least 59% of maritime fines issued in 2021 were marked as ‘lost’, meaning that hundreds of thousands of euros in fines were never collected.  Castillo added that this amount rose substantially in 2022 and 2023.

Despite the amount of evidence, Castillo noted how Transport Malta told MaltaToday that their internal investigation of these issues found no evidence of wrongdoing whatsoever. Castillo said that the PN insists that the investigation report, its method and who was on the investigations board be made public.

Castillo mentioned specific cases such as the tender for RHIB vessels, cases of Transport Malta officials who lied under oath as well as high-ranking officials in the authority being under investigation but still remaining on the board. He said that the government is being held hostage by Transport Malta’s officials.

Castillo went as far as to say that government is being blackmailed by TM officials involved.

Fellow PN MP Mark Anthony Sammut meanwhile said that Transport Malta is known to be an institution full of rackets, citing the cases concerning Y-plate, the racket surrounding driving licences and the dubious consultancies that were handed to Silvio Grixti, who is currently facing court action over a separate racket.

He said that the PN has no interest in Transport Malta’s internal investigation as they simply can’t be trusted and added that he fears that the investigation was tampered with.

The conclusion that all is in order despite an amount of damning evidence is concerning, he said. Sammut called for the Police to do its duty and said that the government, specifically the police, are “lethargic.”

He said that these institutions are paid from public funds to protect the people, so it is not much to ask for them to be transparent.

Sammut said that despite the evidence, only the Minister for Transport and the authority’s CEO changed in the last few months. He called on Prime Minister Robert Abela to do his job, shoulder responsibility and ensure that the authorities of his government function as they should.

PN MP Darren Carabott meanwhile said that these scandals have not just been happening in the last nine months, but have been piling up for years – and for years the PN has been calling and expecting action to be taken.

He said the Police Commissioner has not given orders to investigate these matters and that despite their claims on being righteous and impartial, studies have shown that this is not the case.

He emphasised that he hoped no restraint was holding the police back from doing its job, and questioned: “Where is the criminal action against the ‘big fish’?”

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