The office of the Attorney General is refusing to say whether it will file an appeal on a corruption case involving former Rabat mayor Frank Fabri, currently occupying the role of permanent secretary at the Education Ministry.

A few weeks ago, the court, presided by Magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech acquitted John Borg, a cleaning contractor, on charges of corrupting Dr Fabri.

The court acquitted Mr Borg on technical grounds, as the prosecution had failed to prove the veracity of recordings of conversations made by Mr Borg himself. 

The court also threw out statements Mr Borg had made to the police in which he said he had given Dr Fabri money in relation to a public contract for road cleaning in Rabat.

Confirming that the police had investigated Dr Fabri on the claims made, referring to his time as Rabat mayor in 2006, it confirmed that no charges had been pressed against Dr Fabri as “the prime witnesses against him were undergoing criminal charges in court”.

Although the police confirmed to Times of Malta that, after the latest court decision, they had passed the court file to the Attorney General to consider appealing, Attorney General Peter Grech did not reply when asked if his office would be filing an appeal.

Dr Grech was also asked why charges against Dr Fabri were never presented in court and whether the alleged corruption case was now time-barred.

Legal experts described the police actions on this case as “odd”, as while they had brought charges against Mr Borg for “corrupting Dr Fabri”, no charges were ever made against Dr Fabri himself. “A corruption case normally takes at least two sides to happen,” the sources insisted.

Prime witnesses against him were undergoing criminal charges in court

During the actual court case, Dr Fabri had chosen not to reply to questions order to incriminate himself.

Asked by Times of Malta to state whether he had received money, as alleged by Mr Borg, Dr Fabri did not reply.

He only said that “the court judgment confirms the unfoundedness of the allegations and my innocence”.

However, legal sources said that Dr Fabri was actually “never accused of anything by the police” and it was only the court case against Mr Borg that shed light on claims against the Education Ministry’s top civil servant.

Court proceedings show that Mr Borg had told the police and other parties that he used to pay Lm150 (€345) a month to Dr Fabri in connection with a cleaning contract in Rabat.

Mr Borg, who had also provided the police with recordings of telephone conversations in which he had recounted his dealings with Dr Fabri to third parties, also claimed that Dr Fabri had afterwards asked him for an increase in the alleged ‘kickbacks’ and to start paying him Lm250 (€575) a month. According to Mr Borg, after he refused, Dr Fabri had terminated his contract.

During the same proceedings, an acting executive secretary at the Rabat local council had confirmed to the court that Mr Borg’s contract was stopped on the direction of Dr Fabri “due to bad workmanship”.

Dr Fabri had resigned as Labour mayor in 2007.

Investigators told the newspaper that normally such a proof is “basic prosecution procedure” in such cases.

The AG has a 20-day time window to appeal a case from the day a sentence is given by the courts.

 

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