The Permanent Commission Against Corruption has found a case of attempted corruption by Jimmy Magro, former executive secretary of the Local Councils Association, in the procurement of waste collection equipment, Justice Minister Owen Bonnici told parliament today.

Mr Magro served as general secretary of the Labour Party for 12 years until 2003.

Dr Bonnici said that although no money appeared to have changed hands, the commission had declared that 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.

The minister explained that Mr Magro was engaged by the association in 2007 as executive secretary and in 2013 he stepped down and instead became a part-time adviser of the association.  

The investigation was started in 2015 at the request of the Director-General responsible for EU funds. An investigation was carried out by the internal audit office (IAID) which revealed shortcomings, possibly of a criminal nature. The IAID sent its findings to the Attorney General who called in the police Economic Crimes Unit, whose investigations were continuing. The IAID had found attempted corruption in the purchase of a composting machine.

The case was also handed to the Permanent Commission Against Corruption, whose report was being published today. 

Dr Bonnici said the government would be taking disciplinary action through the Public Service Commission. 

Replying to questions by Nationalist MPs Mario de Marco, David Agius and Francis Zammit Dimech, Dr Bonnici said he was saddened that a person who had contributed to the country had ended up in this position. However he was pleased that the institutions such as the Commission Against Corruption - appointed in agreement with the opposition - was functioning well. 

"Those who commit wrongdoings will not find any shelter" Dr Bonnici said. 

The minister said Mr Magro was not engaged by the government but by the Local Councils Association, which was autonomous. He was however, a public official. 

Dr Bonnici confirmed that Mr Magro also works for Malta Enterprise (Director, Life Sciences Park).

Action would be taken against him in terms of public service regulations. 

See the Commission's report in full in pdf at very bottom of this story.

In a statement the Nationalist Party said the latest case confirmed that this was the most corrupt government ever. It welcomed the fact that action would be taken against Mr Magro, but it challenged Dr Bonnici to also act against the prime minister's chief of staff, Keith Schembri, and minister Konrad Mizzi who had set up secret companies in Panama.  The law, it said, should be applied equally to all. 

The Labour Party said this case showed how the government took action without looking at faces.

In contrast, Simon Busuttil spoke about corruption but did nothing about it. He had no moral authority to speak about others when he had done nothing about cases such as the transfer of the site of the former Lowenbrau brewery.

A witness said Jimmy Magro requested payment of €25,000.A witness said Jimmy Magro requested payment of €25,000.

The commission homed in on an e-mail by Mr Magro where he requested a 'commercial take'.The commission homed in on an e-mail by Mr Magro where he requested a 'commercial take'.



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