A tax evasion investigation into MP Rosianne Cutajar and her role in brokering a property in Mdina deal for Daphne Caruana Galizia murder suspect Yorgen Fenech has been ongoing since February, it can be revealed. 

The Tax Compliance Unit within the Inland Revenue Department started an audit and accompanying investigation a few weeks after Times of Malta first exposed the multi-million euro property agreement back in December 2020.

The investigation includes other players in the deal, such as Cutajar’s associate, Charles Farrugia.

Farrugia, known as it-Tikka, also acted as a broker in the property deal and was paid his hefty commission in cash.

Fenech, and the seller of the property, Joseph Camilleri, also feature in the tax probe, sources said.

The sources said Inland Revenue Commissioner Marvin Gaerty had requested his staff look into allegations that Cutajar received some €46,000 in cash for her role in brokering the €3.1 million property deal.

They are understood to be reviewing her tax declarations and comparing this with her lifestyle and purchases. 

Prime Minister Robert Abela announced on Monday that Cutajar would not be returning to her previous cabinet post after a report by Standards Commissioner George Hyzler found she had committed a number of ethics breaches. In a statement, the government said: “Prime Minister Robert Abela has today communicated the decision to Hon. Cutajar that her resignation remains in force.” 

Allegations that Cutajar received some €46,000 in cash for her role

Cutajar hit out at Hyzler on Sunday, saying she planned to stay on as a member of parliament. Writing on Facebook, she said she had been elected to parliament by the voting public and had no intention of giving up her seat.

She had resigned from her position as parliamentary secretary for equality and reforms in February pending the outcome of the ethics report. 

The commissioner's report also recommended that the matter be referred to the tax authorities. 

Meanwhile, parliament’s committee for standards in public life unanimously approved a motion for the report and two accompanying volumes of supporting evidence to be published. 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. 

The committee members also agreed that Hyzler be brought to testify before the committee on Monday.

Opposition leader Bernard Grech dismissed confirmation of Cutajar’s resignation as too little too late.

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 step down. 

“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. 

The government announced later that Cutajar’s duties had been reassigned to Research Minister Owen Bonnici.

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