President George Abela will not chair the Commission for the Administration of Justice when it looks into comments made by Mr Justice Lino Farrugia Sacco to undercover repor­ters probing an Olympics ticket sales scam.

A spokesman said the President had written to the commission saying he would abstain because he had represented Mr Justice Farrugia Sacco as legal counsel in the past.

The commission will instead be headed by its deputy chairman, Chief Justice Silvio Camilleri.

The spokesman said President Abela had represented Mr Justice Farrugia Sacco before the same commission when he was being investigated over his dual role as judge and president of the Malta Olympic Committee.

“In this way (by abstaining), justice will not only be done but also be seen to be done,” the spokesman said.

The investigation was requested by Justice Minister Chris Said after The Sunday Times of London carried out an undercover investigation into the illegal resale of tickets for the Olympic Games on the international market.

The MOC was not among the bodies accused of illegal sales.

However, the newspaper filmed MOC general secretary Joe Cassar, in the presence of the judge, telling two reporters posing as envoys of a Middle Eastern ticket tout how high mark-ups on the tickets, above the allowed threshold, could be “camouflaged” through “subtle” marketing techniques.

Mr Justice Farrugia Sacco has denied any wrongdoing.

While pointing out that the proceedings before the Commission for Administration of Justice were confidential, Dr Abela’s spokesman said the commission had “taken note” of Dr Said’s request “and will take up the matter according to law”.

Labour justice spokesman José Herrera feels that the commission should have launched an investigation immediately if it felt there were enough reasons for an inquiry.

“I feel the commission should just take it upon itself to launch such an investigation without having to wait for any letters or requests. I do not support Dr Said’s letter per se as this could give the investigation a political tinge,” he said yesterday to clarify comments given to The Times a day earlier.

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