A Transport Malta whistleblower who exposed a suspected driving licence racket claims he also has evidence of widespread voter fraud dating back to 2014.
In a court application addressed to Magistrate Rachel Montebello, the whistleblower alleged a criminal conspiracy through which ID cards belonging to deceased foreign-born Maltese citizens were given to other foreign residents, for them to vote for the Labour Party.
The man says that “thousands of euros were paid” as part of the scheme. He claims to have a list of people involved in it.
According to the whistleblower, a number of foreign-born citizens were not registered as deceased once they died, allowing conspirators to effectively transfer their identities to other foreigners living in Malta. The latter were then paid to vote for the Labour Party, he claims.
Some of the people who assumed the name, surname and ID card number of the dead person confirmed that to the whistleblower personally, he claims in the application.
The Nationalist Party reacted by demanding an immediate investigation into the whistleblower's claims.
In a reaction, the Labour Party dismissed the allegation as a fantasy and noted that the electoral process is overseen by an Electoral Commission made up of representatives of the two major parties.
It added that it was not the first time that the PN has made allegations of voter fraud that turned out to be incorrect.
Whistleblower's court application
The explosive allegation forms part of a legal submission filed on the whistleblower’s behalf by lawyers Jason Azzopardi and Kris Busietta on Tuesday.
They want their client to testify via videoconferencing in a criminal case against three Transport Malta officials accused of corruption.
The whistleblower claims that he was forced out of Malta in 2021 when his residence permit was revoked, months after he tried to raise the alarm within the Labour Party of the driving licence racket.
Information that he provided to the police in November 2020 sparked an investigation into the driving licence system and eventually led to the arraignment of the three suspects.
Prosecutors say that the man they believe led the racket, former TM director Clint Mansueto, told investigators that he felt pressured to pass the candidates due to political pressure from an unnamed minister.
The whistleblower was forced out of Malta after 15 years of living in the country. Identity Malta says his permit was revoked after he failed to adhere to application deadlines.
He says, however, that the revocation came months after he spoke to a minister, junior minister and two top party officials about the Transport Malta racket.
Pressure to favour candidates
The whistleblower was familiar with Labour Party structures, having spent more than a decade working within the party. In his court application, he says that in 2008 he was appointed secretary of the party’s Balzan local committee and helped the party raise money for several years.
As of 2015, he worked as an interpreter at Transport Malta, translating driving test questions to candidates who did not read or write in English or Maltese.
He claims that he was ordered to ensure various Italian candidates who “were to work for [local taxi firm] eCabs” passed the test, as did other Moroccan candidates earmarked for jobs with Malta Public Transport.
In a reply, eCabs CEO Andew Bezzina said the allegations were completely unfounded.
“What is being implied by this person is a blatant lie, dragging our company into a dispute we never had any involvement in. We can never accept that our company is so unfairly misrepresented and are reserving our right to take legal action,” he said.
Malta Public Transport also dissociated itself from the allegations.
"The company categorically denies that any attempt was made to influence the driving testing process at any time for any of its employees," a spokesperson said, adding that all its drivers had to pass an additional internal test, over and above the legal driving test requirements, before being allowed to drive MPT vehicles.
Buying his boss whisky and gifts
In his court filing, the whistleblower also claimed that one of the three Transport Malta officials facing criminal charges, Philip Edrick Zammit, would translate driving test questions for Arabic-speaking candidates, despite not knowing Arabic.
He claims that when he warned Mansueto about that, the director told him that the candidates “work at a minister’s villa” and that he had been bombarded with calls to ensure they passed the test.
The whistleblower alleges that Mansueto bullied him and would force him to take out for meals, pay for shots of Johnny Walker Blue Label whisky and buy gifts for Mansueto, his wife and children.
He claims that between February and September 2020, he met with minister Carmelo Abela, junior minister Alex Muscat, Transport Ministry official Jesmond Zammit and OPM official Sandro Craus to warn them about the Transport Malta racket.
All of them laughed him off, he claims, he says. He also spoke to a "high-ranking official" at President's Palace who advised him to be "careful" because he was "stepping on toes and they'll do to you as they did to Daphne [Caruana Galizia]."
The whistleblower claims that he met with Alex Muscat at his Mosta constituency office. Muscat wanted the whistleblower to help him with his reelection campaign, the whisteblower claims. But when the whistleblower rebuffed the offer, Muscat – whose cabinet portfolio included responsibility for Identity Malta – told him that he could “wipe him off the face of Malta” [Jeqirdu minn Malta], the court application alleges.
In October of that year, the whistleblower says his residency permit was revoked.