Updated 7.50am, adds statement from Doctors for Road Safety

Robert Abela continued to defend ministers and public officials who helped people get fast-tracked for their driving tests through the back door, on grounds that this is part of the system.

"That is the way the political system works. If anyone is saying this should not apply for this country, I disagree,” the prime minister said, adding that his government helped everyone, including Opposition MPs. 

Times of Malta on Sunday revealed how then Transport Minister Ian Borg and customer care officers at the Office of the Prime Minister, among other public officials, handed the names of drive test candidates to Transport Malta licensing director Clint Mansueto. 

Robert Abela speaking on Monday.

Questioned by the media on Monday, Abela said that those, who in the eyes of the police appeared to have committed an irregularity, had been charged in court. But matters were different for the customer care officers. They had not asked anyone to commit any irregularity and the facts showed that not all those assisted by the customer care officers had actually passed their tests.

Abela was then asked why a minister or anyone else in the government would refer the name of a driving test candidate to a Transport Malta official if not to help him pass the test in a deceitful manner.

“Why are you defending this abuse?” Abela was asked.

The prime minister said each ministry including his own office had officials whose duty it was to help everyone with their everyday needs, independently of their political beliefs.

"The way the minister acted is what is expected of any minister and secretariat."

In fact, he said that throughout Monday, the government had received many other requests for legitimate help, from health to education issues.

Doctors concerned

Meanwhile, the Doctors for Road Safety (D4RS) expressed concern that there are drivers who may have been granted a licence to drive under questionable circumstances due to external interference with the examination process.

"If these allegations are proven, then all such licenses must be reviewed in the interest of road safety," it said.

D4RS also called for the necessary governance to be put in place to ensure that this important privilege of being granted a licence to drive is issued according to transparent objective and standardised criteria which can stand up to scrutiny.

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