Updated 10.35am

The “stern reprimand” that parliament was meant to have delivered to Labour MP Rosianne Cutajar was simply a letter informing her about a parliamentary committee’s decision against her.

Parliament’s Committee for Standards in Public Life voted on Tuesday for Cutajar to face censure following an ethics investigation into her role in allegedly brokering a property deal with Yorgen Fenech and failing to declare her income from it.

Speaker Anġlu Farrugia told the committee members that he would draft the “stern reprimand”.

However, instead of what opposition members on the committee had expected would be a strongly worded reprimand, Cutajar received a letter from House Clerk Raymond Scicluna saying he had been tasked by the speaker to “inform” the MP of the decision against her. 

The letter gave an overview of the recent weeks’ proceedings and concluded by letting Cutajar know that the committee had agreed to reprimand her. Nationalist MP Karol Aquilina, who sits on the committee, said this was a far cry from what a proper reprimand from an institution should be.

“When someone is reprimanded, they are usually told that what they did was wrong, why and what they should do in the future. This clearly did not happen,” Aquilina said.

“Here we have another institutional failure.

”In the light of this outcome, it was clear that the committee needed to undergo a thorough reform since it was repeatedly failing to accomplish any of its objectives, he added. 

During the committee meeting, the opposition had demanded that Cutajar be suspended from parliament for a month but was voted down. They also wanted to be informed of the exact wording of the reprimand but this was rejected too.

The standards committee reached its decision on Cutajar after receiving a report from Standards Commissioner George Hyzler, who found that the Labour MP and former junior minister most likely received a €46,500 brokerage payment through the property deal. 

Times of Malta has seen the letter. The Clerk of the House was asked for a copy but it was not provided despite several reminders.

Repubblika: Parliament has been ridiculed

In a statement on Saturday, rule of law NGO Repubblika said that the letter sent on the Speaker's behalf continued to discredit Malta's parliament, which it said was "promoting impunity". 

Some MPs insisted on being called 'honourable' even when their behaviour was anything but, it said. 

"We consider 'honourable' those who act in an honourable way: those who behave badly but then expect to be called honourable are clowns, even if they form part of Malta's highest institution," Repubblika said. 

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