Standards commissioner George Hyzler will not commit to a timeframe for his investigation into a junior minister’s alleged involvement in a multi-million euro property deal with murder suspect Yorgen Fenech.
Prime Minister Robert Abela says he won’t make any decisions on the future of Rosianne Cutajar, parliamentary secretary for equality and reforms, until the outcome of the investigation.
Earlier this month, Times of Malta reported how Cutajar was being chased to repay brokerage fees she allegedly earned from a €3.1 million property deal that fell through when Fenech was arrested last year.
Cutajar is said to have pocketed a cut of €46,500 in cash for her role in the May 2019 Mdina deal. She insists she always acted ethically.
After calls for her resignation, the prime minister said he would take a decision on her future once all the facts had been established by an independent body. Asked for a timeline for the probe, the standards commissioner suggested there was none.
“The standards commissioner’s office is prioritising the thoroughness of the investigation over any kind of deadline,” director-general of the office Charles Polidano said.
He also dismissed questions over whether the ethics commissioner has the power to investigate the case, given the time limit for allegations set out in the standards in public life act.
Article 14(2) of the act states a complaint “shall not be entertained” if it is made later than a year “from when the fact giving rise to the complaint happened.”
The office of the commissioner said: “The allegation of undeclared income in the declaration of assets is not time-barred by article 14(2) of the Standards in Public Life Act.”
The investigation was sparked by a complaint from Arnold Cassola, a former independent election candidate.
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