Updated Tuesday 11.21am with more reactions from ministers. 

The Office of the Prime Minister has sidestepped questions concerning an unnamed minister who allegedly pressured Transport Malta officials into ensuring certain candidates passed their driving tests. 

In a brief response to Times of Malta, an OPM spokesperson noted that it was "not aware of any charges having been issued against any government minister, or of any pending judicial proceedings."  

The OPM was asked whether Prime Minister Robert Abela had spoken to his ministers about the allegations, which emerged in court earlier on Monday, and whether he knew who the unnamed minister was.  

Several of Abela's current and former ministers denied any involvement when Times of Malta contacted them for comment on Monday afternoon. 

Ian Borg, Chris Fearne, Silvio Schembri, Julia Farrugia Portelli, Owen Bonnici, Evarist Bartolo, Jose Herrera, Michael Farrugia, Edward Scicluna, Aaron Farrugia and Edward Zammit Lewis all distanced themselves from the case. 

Another former cabinet member, Justyne Caruana, declined to answer questions on the grounds that she is no longer in politics. 

The claims made in court

On Monday, three Transport Malta officials were charged with corruption for helping learner drivers cheat in their driving theory test. 

Clint Mansueto, 40, a director at Transport Malta, and officials Raul Antonio Pace, 35, and Philip Edrick Zammit, 23, denied corruption charges when they appeared in court on Monday. 

The court heard how Mansueto told police under questioning that he felt "pressured" to help certain people pass the test "because they were working at a villa belonging to a government minister".

Ministers deny involvement

Transport Malta was part of the ministerial portfolio of Ian Borg between 2017 and the 2022 general election. 

Borg, who is now Foreign Affairs Minister, told Times of Malta through a spokesperson that he used to maintain regular contact with Mansueto, as with all other directors at the time. 

He described Mansueto as a "person of good character and hard-working," the spokesperson said in a written statement.

"Minister Borg always forwards complaints, requests for assistance or suggestions he receives to the CEOs and Directors concerned for their consideration as they would with any similar communication received directly by the entities concerned, without suggesting or pressing for any preferential treatment or wrongdoing," the statement read. 

With regards to the case, Borg said he has "no recollection of such episode, nor has he ever had "Arab nationals" working at his residence."

He said he does not own a "villa", either. 

Former foreign minister Evarist Bartolo was more explicit.

"I do not live in a villa, so no one worked on my villa. I've nothing to do with this."

Economy Minister Silvo Schembri also said he does not own a villa. Disability Minister Julia Farrugia Portelli told Times of Malta she was "absolutely not involved". 

Jose Herrera, who served as Culture Minister at the time, said he had "100% nothing to do with the case" and that he too, does not own a villa.

Deputy Minister and Health Minister Chris Fearne also denied any link to the case, as did current Culture Minister Owen Bonnici

Aaron Farrugia, who took over political responsibility for Transport Malta in March of this year, also denied involvement.  

Similarly, former Finance Minister Edward Scicluna said he was never involved in this case. 

Former minister and Labour backbencher Michael Farrugia was curt. 

"I don't have a villa, goodnight," he said when contacted.  

Former Justice Minister Edward Zammit Lewis categorically denied "any form of involvement".

Former Gozo Minister Justyne Caruana ignored the question, saying she is no longer involved in politics, and that those who are should be contacted. 

Fellow Gozitan minister Clint Camilleri answered with a 'no'. Finance Minister Clyde Caruana and Energy Minister Miriam Dalli, asked if they had contacts with Transport Malta or these officials said they hadn't.

The Nationalist Party has said that the minister implicated in the scandal should be named and shamed and made to resign. 

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