The Malta Financial Services Authority governor, who earlier this week accused the CEO of abuse of power and public funds, on Wednesday asked for a meeting with the auditor general to present his case and provide him with more information.

The MFSA had earlier said in a statement it would not be making any public comments about the accusations made by the governor, former Labour minister Joe Brincat, in a judicial protest he filed against CEO Joseph Cuschieri on Monday.

In reaction to that statement, Dr Brincat said it would be the Auditor General and not the MFSA to decide.

Dr Brincat said that since “it is a known principle that no one should be the judge of his own jury” he would be asking the Auditor General for a meeting “and then it will be up to him to make a decision”.

“It will be up to him to study the information and know who can provide him with more information and hear them,” he said.

“It is in this way that the truth will emerge and not with empty expressions,” he said, in a clear reference to the MFSA’s public statement.

In his judicial protest, Dr Brincat accused Mr Cuschieri of abusing public funds by offering a golden handshake to a senior employee in order to get rid of him. He called on Mr Cuschieri to desist from the offer as he had no right to use public funds in that way.

He did not name the employee but Times of Malta reported that the issue revolves around the unceremonious dismissal of Reuben Fenech, the MFSA’s chief operating officer, last week.

The MFSA said on Wednesday that it had taken note of the judicial protest. “The Authority does not consider it appropriate to comment publicly on the ongoing matters referred to by the said governor,” it said.

“However, the Authority wishes to make it clear that funds administered by it are and will continue to be used exclusively in the exercise of its functions and operations.”

Asked on Wednesday if Mr Cuschieri still enjoyed the confidence of the board of governors, the chairman, John Mamo, said he did.

However, he did not comment when asked whether it was true that Mr Cuschieri had offered public funds to the COO to get him to leave his post.

“It is not appropriate to discuss staff matters with the media,” Prof. Mamo said. However, he said the matter had been discussed with the board.

According to the MFSA, the contract of the COO does not en-visage a golden handshake.

Asked about Dr Brincat’s accusation that Mr Cuschieri was possibly committing a crime, Prof. Mamo said: “There is no evidence that a crime or any wrongdoing has been committed by Mr Cuschieri.

“Mr Cuschieri acted within his powers at law.”

Meanwhile, Dr Brincat wrote on his social media page that “the time of kings and queens is over” when it came to how public funds were spent.

Drawing a parallel with a political saga under the Nationalist administration, in which members of Cabinet were accused of giving themselves a steep rise in their salaries and perks without Parliament’s approval, Dr Brincat said the same applied today.

Everyone agreed it was wrong to do so, he said, adding that “the same principle applies where taxpayer’s money is dished out without any parliamentary approval”.

“There should not be shenanigans (bużullotti) where Parliament votes one way and then we play hide and seek,” the MFSA governor said.

The Nationalist Party has asked the Public Accounts Committee to investigate the golden handshakes reports.

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