Labour MP Rosianne Cutajar breached parliamentary ethics standards, an investigation into her alleged involvement in a multi-million Euro property deal with Yorgen Fenech has found.
Commissioner for Standards in Public Life George Hyzler on Friday handed a copy of his investigation into the claims to parliamentary speaker Anġlu Farrugia.
When a report is not published by the Standards Commissioner and is instead passed to the Speaker, it means that the report has concluded that there has been a prima facie breach of the ethics code.
Sources confirmed to Times of Malta that the investigation, which lasted more than six months, had established a case of ethical misconduct.
The matter will now be discussed before parliament’s committee for standards in public life, which must decide when the report is made public.
Chaired by Speaker Farrugia, the committee consists of two members each from government and opposition - Edward Zammit Lewis and Glenn Bedingfield for the government, and Therese Comodini Cachia and Karol Aquilina for the Opposition.
What were the allegations?
Times of Malta revealed in December 2020 that Cutajar had helped broker a property deal involving Fenech, who faces charges of complicity in the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, and allegedly accepted a bag stuffed with some €46,500 in cash.
The property deal dates back to May 2019, when Cutajar had allegedly acted as a broker for Fenech to buy a house in Mdina for €3.1 million.
The deal with Fenech eventually fell through after the mogul was arrested in November 2019. Cutajar had already received her brokerage fee by that point, sources say.
She denied any wrongdoing at the time but eventually stepped down from her cabinet post pending an investigation by Hyzler.
The commissioner had been asked to look into the matter by independent candidate Arnold Cassola, who was notified that the investigation had been concluded on Friday.
What will happen next?
By law, if parliament’s ethics committee finds the MP guilty of a breach, it may recommend that the House should direct the member to rectify any breach.
It can also demand an apology in writing to the committee or an apology by way of a personal statement in parliament.
It can also demand the repayment of or payment for resources improperly used or recommend that the House take any other measure it may deem fit.
The committee can also recommend that the House direct the person investigated to rectify the breach.
If the committee does not take the commissioner’s conclusions on board, it must outline its reasons.
Reacting to news that the investigation had been concluded, Cassola expressed scepticism about the committee's deliberations, saying he had no doubt that committee member Zammit Lewis "will do his best to try and minimise the report and to try and hide its contents from the Maltese public and electorate."
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