A woman who admitted to having paid a Transport Malta official to “speed up the process" of her nephew getting a driving licence has been placed under probation.

Maria Assunta Camilleri’s name first cropped up when a police officer was testifying in criminal proceedings against former Transport Malta director Clint Mansueto, who stands accused alongside two former subordinates of being involved in a driving tests racket exposed by Times of Malta.

That testimony shed light on the way government officials and private individuals allegedly sought help for particular candidates to pass their driving tests.

One of the candidates was a certain “Marcus Galdes” whose aunt, Camilleri, texted Mansueto offering him money to make sure that her nephew got his driving licence.

Mansueto and his two co-accused, Raul Antonio Pace and Philip Endrick Zammit, are pleading not guilty and proceedings against them are still ongoing. 

Meanwhile, criminal charges were also pressed against Camilleri who initially pleaded not guilty to trading in influence and complicity in bribing a public official in July 2021.

When testifying in the proceedings, prosecuting Inspector Wayne Rodney Borg said that Camilleri and Mansueto first texted each other in August 2021, continuing until February 2022. 

One of those messages hinted at a €50 sum.

Camilleri told Mansueto about her nephew’s upcoming driving theory test and when the director’s diaries were seized in the criminal probe, police came across the name of ‘Galdes’ marked as “important” next to a date in February. 

Camilleri’s name was also traced in another chat between Mansueto and one of the driving examiners. 

Under questioning, Camilleri told police that she had simply spoken to Mansueto “to speed up the process” since it was very important for her nephew to get his licence. 

But she insisted that she had freely handed Mansueto €50 each time she spoke to him, saying that she simply wanted to thank him. 

Camilleri described as a "genuine" person by probation officer

More recently, the woman’s lawyers, Franco Debono and Marion Camilleri, requested the court to authorize a pre-sentencing report.

Camilleri registered an admission in May, confirming it after being given sufficient time to reconsider by the court. 

A probation officer was tasked with reporting about the accused. 

He described Camilleri as a “genuine” person who had to understand that certain actions were not permissible and that certain limits could not be overstepped. 

She was a diligent woman who played a central role within her family, with other relatives turning to her for advice. 

But she had to put her personal abilities to good use, helping her family to develop as a whole. Camilleri also needed to work on her self-esteem and consider the consequences of her actions, the probation officer wrote.  

The probation officer said she also ought to help her nephews and nieces equip themselves with the ability to address life’s problems, building a strong and mature character along the way.

This criminal case was to serve as a lesson that “money could not be used to abuse and cheat the system,” said the report presented to the presiding magistrate. 

However, this court case should not disrupt Camilleri’s stable life.

She had to remain focused on family while making sure that “past mistakes were not repeated.” 

In light of these recommendations as well as the accused’s untainted criminal record and the nature of the charges, Magistrate Gabriella Vella placed Camilleri under a two-year Probation Order which served the public interest by making sure that the accused would not commit other criminal wrongdoing. 

She was also ordered to pay €1068.80 in court expert expenses. 

When meting out punishment the court also took note of the fact that Camilleri declared that she would willingly testify in any other proceedings as requested. 

AG lawyers Abigail Caruana Vella and Gary Cauchi prosecuted together with Inspector Wayne R Borg.

Lawyers Franco Debono and Marion Camilleri were defence counsel. 

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