Updated 6.58pm with Ian Borg's comment in parliament.

A Transport Malta official filmed punching a motorist as he was lying in the middle of the road has worked as an election canvasser for Ian Borg, Times of Malta understands.

Rene Antonelli was caught on camera running towards the man and punching him in the head in a video that has shocked the country. The other official seen assaulting the motorist has been identified as Ivan Cassar.

Both have been suspended from their jobs. 

Ivan Cassar. Photo: Transport MaltaIvan Cassar. Photo: Transport Malta

Antonelli's Facebook page is littered with photographs of him at various public and family events with Borg, the former Transport Minister, who has been minister for Foreign Affairs since March.

In one picture, the Rabat native and keen motorcyclist is sporting an 'Ian Borg' T-shirt. The Facebook page was removed after Times of Malta revealed the link between the two men. 

Rene Antonelli and Ian Borg pictured in 2019. Photo: FacebookRene Antonelli and Ian Borg pictured in 2019. Photo: Facebook

Contacted for comment, Borg said he had nothing to say. Later on Wednesday, in Parliament Borg said he only found out that Antonelli was “one of the 7,000 people who voted for [him]” after reading the Times of Malta’s report.  He said he had nothing to add to what the Prime Minister had already said about the matter.

Transport Malta and the police are investigating the incident, which was believed to have happened on Qormi Road, Marsa on October 26 at around 9.30pm and was first revealed by Lovin Malta on Tuesday. 

The video shows a man lying on the ground after having been stopped by officials. 

An officer, understood to be Antonelli, is seen getting off his motorbike, running towards the man and punching him in the head, with the other officer joining in within seconds. 

The video showing the incident. Video: Lovin Malta

Despite lying on the ground with outstretched arms, the man is punched around the head and other parts of his body before other officials step in to restrain them. 

Transport Minister Aaron Farrugia on Tuesday condemned the incident and said the two officials had been immediately suspended pending an internal investigation.

It is understood that the police have yet to identify the victim. 

Adrian Delia, shadow Transport Minister, said political responsibility needed to be shouldered because the people involved in this incident were public officers whose duty was to ensure that the roads were safe, not to create danger themselves.

It is the latest scandal to rock Transport Malta.

Three Transport Malta officials are currently facing charges linked to a driving theory test corruption case dating back to 2020.

At least one unnamed minister has been linked to the case through testimony in court that officials felt pressured to pass certain people whose names were provided to them by government. 

Sign up to our free newsletters

Get the best updates straight to your inbox:
Please select at least one mailing list.

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By subscribing, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing.