Labour MP Rosianne Cutajar will remain on the party backbench, Prime Minister Robert Abela has told her, following a report by the Standards Commissioner that recommended that she be investigated by tax authorities.
Cutajar had resigned from her position as parliamentary secretary for equality and reforms in February pending the outcome of the report.
Abela's decision was announced in a brief statement on Monday, shortly after the commissioner's report was published by a parliamentary committee.
Her portfolio has been handed to minister Owen Bonnici.
Standards Commissioner George Hyzler investigated Cutajar's alleged links to a multi-million euro property deal involving Yorgen Fenech.
He found a prima facie breach of ethics by Cutajar when she pocketed more than €46,000 by brokering a 2019 property sale to Fenech and did not declare that income in her declaration of assets, and advised MPs to refer the case to the Inland Revenue Commissioner.
Cutajar reacted on Sunday by hitting out at Hyzler and saying she plans to stay on as an MP.
In its statement on Monday the government said: "Prime Minister Robert Abela has today communicated the decision to Hon Cutajar that her resignation remains in force."
Earlier, Parliament's committee for standards in public life unanimously approved a motion for the report and two accompanying volumes of supporting evidence to be made public. The motion was presented by Nationalist MP Karol Aquilina.
A third volume of evidence, containing copies of chats between Cutajar and Fenech, Cutajar's bank statements and other personal documents, was not published. MPs forming part of the committee can access the documents at Hyzler's office.
Hyzler to testify on investigation
The committee members also agreed that Hyzler be brought to testify before the committee on Monday 12 July.
Meanwhile, cabinet will meet on Monday morning with sources saying Prime Minister Robert Abela plans on discussing the Hyzler report with his colleagues.
Among other things, ministers will discuss whether the report should be sent to the tax authorities for further investigation.
On Sunday, Times of Malta reported how the report had recommended an investigation into Cutajar’s fiscal affairs.
Bernard Grech: Cutajar should resign as an MP
For Opposition leader Bernard Grech, confirmation of Cutajar's resignation as a junior minister did not go far enough.
He called on the prime minister to demand Cutajar's resignation as a Labour MP, and to kick her out of Labour's parliamentary group if she refused to do so.
"For as long as she remains there, Robert Abela will continue to confirm that he wants to keep defending those who are harming our country's reputation," Grech said as he accused the prime minister of being a "continuation" of his predecessor Joseph Muscat.
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