Finance Minister Tonio Fenech has confirmed the government's lack of will to fight corruption, the Labour Party said.

It said that Mr Fenech told The Times that he had known about the bribery claim over the superyacht facility since September but he had not told the police about the case because he decided there was no case.

The Prime Minister said in Parliament on Wednesday that an official in his secretariat had heard the claim from someone involved in the bids and had alerted the Finance Ministry. The ministry investigated but the probe yielded no results.

Based on the same allegation, which, he said, he had only just heard, Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi on Wednesday ordered a police investigation.

This followed a parliamentary sitting on Monday in which Opposition Leader Joseph Muscat asked whether Dr Gonzi, or his office, was aware of allegations that someone had asked for money in return for favourable treatment with regard to any government tendering process.

Dr Muscat has since lashed out at the government for waiting eight months before going to the police, pointing a finger in particular at Dr Gonzi. But the Office of the Prime Minister said Dr Gonzi had only been told about the claim on Tuesday.

The PL said today that the minister's only investigation was a meeting with the people involved and he closed the case when they denied they requested money.

The minister admitted he did not know who made the allegations but he still opted to consider this as hearsay.

Such behaviour showed a lack of will by the government to fight corruption, the PL said. It insisted that the Prime Minister's defence that he did not know what was going on was not credible.

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