Former Labour Party general secretary Jimmy Magro will face criminal charges following the conclusion of a police probe into corruption claims. An anti-corruption watchdog concluded in 2017 that Mr Magro solicited a €25,000 cut on a €250,000 public waste procurement tender issued by the Local Councils Association.
Speaking to Times of Malta, a police spokesman confirmed that investigations into the case had finally been concluded and charges issued.
Although no money had ever changed hands, the Permanent Commission Against Corruption had declared it was “morally convinced” that an attempt had been made by Mr Magro to solicit money in the summer of 2014 when tenders were being adjudicated.
At the time, Mr Magro was employed by state investment arm Malta Enterprise and served as a consultant to the association, where he was responsible for its tenders.
A source familiar with the police investigation said Mr Magro would face charges linked to the alleged corruption. The charges were filed towards the end of last year after a police investigation that proceeded at a snail’s pace over a two-year period.
Mr Magro served as general secretary of the Labour Party for 12 years until 2003.
He has denied any wrongdoing and even sued the anti-corruption watchdog for damages, claiming he was never notified he was under investigation despite being called as a witness by the anti-corruption commission.
Mr Magro argued the anti-corruption watchdog’s report had caused him to lose his job and suffer reputational damage.
A request for comment about the charges sent to Mr Magro through his lawyers yesterday afternoon was not answered by the time of writing.
The charges issued against Mr Magro mark a first for a probe initiated by the Permanent Commission Against Corruption.
According to a 2014 report by the Justice Reform Commission, none of the 425 investigations opened by the Commission since 1988 had led to any criminal charges.
Last year, Greco, the Council of Europe’s anti-corruption body, said that certain institutions, such as the anti-corruption commission, had not produced any concrete results after 30 years of existence.
The Venice Commission found the anti-corruption watchdog to be structurally flawed as its members were appointed by the prime minister and its reports go to the justice minister, who had no powers of investigation.
It recommended that the anti-corruption commission would either be dissolved upon the setting up of a public prosecutor’s office, to avoid overlapping competences, or remain as a body reporting on corruption and sending reports to the public prosecutor.