Updated at 3pm: adds Transport Malta statement

A person of trust at the Health Ministry was on Saturday charged with taking a €600 bribe to move a patient in the hospital.

John Baptist Bilocca, 62, of Gudja plead not guilty to the charges, as he sat crying in the dock.

Prosecuting officer Yvonne Farrugia told magistrate Doreen Clark that that the police had been called in to investigate following a request by the Health Ministry. The court also heard how investigators had call logs and SMSes to prove their case.

The health ministry said on Friday that the person had been suspended.

Mr Bilocca also works as a field officer at Transport Malta. The authority said in the afternoon that the accused will be suspended with immediate effect in line with the collective agreement.

Defense lawyer Stephen Tonna Lowell argued that his client suffered from depression and should be granted bail.

He also argued that compared to other corruption cases in recent history, these allegations were relatively small.

Magistrate Clark granted bail but ordered the accused not to approach the witnesses or go to the localities where they lived, any old people's homes, and Mater Dei Hospital.

 

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