Godwin Sant, a director of the Malta Resources Authority, had about €400,000 in assets that were unaccounted for and did not tally with his declared income, a court heard this morning.

Police Superintendent Paul Vassallo said Mr Sant declared his income as an MRA director as well as income from part-time lecturing at the University of Malta.

During investigations it turned out that he received payments for private consultancy works and, apart from that, he had a large amount of assets - including a house worth €250,000 on which he had no loan - that were not accounted for.

Mr Vassallo was testifying, before magistrate Aaron Bugeja, in the compilation of evidence against Mr Sant, 44, of Naxxar, was is charged with tax evasion, bribery, money laundering, computer misuse and using to his advantage information to which he was privy.

Mr Sant, an engineer who was tasked with overseeing the resources authority’s regulations, was arrested on January 18 in the wake of information regarding allegations of bribery, tax evasion and misuse of information.

It is being alleged that Mr Sant had accepted gifts from oil giant Trafigura at the request of pardoned oil trader George Farrugia over the procurement of fuel for Enemalta.

Mr Vassallo said that after a MaltaToday story was published on 18 January, police started investigating the allegations and arrested Mr Sant from his Naxxar home.

He did not reply to questions on advice of his lawyer and, the following day, he went to speak to police and said this was "a storm in a tea cup".

He told police he was given tickets as he was a football enthusiast and he and a friend wanted to see a match in UK. They could not find tickets and he mentioned it to Mr Farrugia, who went to MRA because he wanted to get into the solar panel business, who spoke to an oil company and got him tickets. He was not sure if he had paid for them.

Mr Sant said he had nothing to do with oil imports when asked if he helped Mr Farrugia procure oil. His job was to ensure that the fuel in petrol stations was according to standards.

Mr Vassallo added that investigations showed that Mr Sant went abroad to assist Mr Farrugia during a presentation on hydrogen as an alternative fuel. Mr Sant got no payment from Mr Farrugia but was reimbursed for expenses.

Investigations into his bank accounts showed hefty deposits made between 2008 and 2009.

These included a cheque of some €7,800 from Playmobil for works carried out on PV panel projects; several payments of about €1,000 from E Calleja & Sons who appointed Mr Sant to train engineers; payments including one of €5,500 and another of about €3,000 from EMDP for a study on petrol stations; and four payments of €5,000 each from Hermann Mallia for various services including market research.

Three of the three cheques were payable in cash.

Vat was paid in all cases except for the payment by Hermann Mallia of which there was no paper trail. According to an estimate of works, Mr Sant was to work for 210 hours and get paid €10,000 but he was paid for double the amount of hours.
Hermann Mallia, it resulted, bought three permits for petrol stations that were not operating.

Mr Vassallo went on to add that, in the beginning of 2009, there was a GRTU and MRA project to bring petrol stations up to standard. Two companies tendered for the project.

Mr Sant was one of three people on the adjudication board and the tender was awarded  without him declaring his conflict of interest, that is, that he worked with Mr Mallia.

Mr Sant received payments from Mr Mallia between mid 2008 and the beginning of 2009.  

Mr Vassallo said the claims made in the MaltaToday story had not been proven.

Police Inspector Jonathan Ferris said that, following the MaltaToday story, police also spoke to Mr Farrugia about the ticket allegation. He said that large companies, like Total and Trafigura, bought block football tickets which they gave to clients. He checked with one of them and got two tickets for a Liverpool-Arsenal match for Mr Sant and his friend. He did not recall if Mr Sant paid him for the tickets.

Police also investigated an email which Mr Sant sent to Mr Farrugia from his personal gmail account in which he attached an upcoming legal notice legal notice on the control of organic emissions.

It also resulted that Mr Sant was obliged, by contract, not to do other work unless he had permission from MRA. He only ever got permission once to lecture. 

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