Civil society protesters have demanded the resignation of parliamentary secretary Rosianne Cutajar during a demonstration outside her ministry on Wednesday afternoon.
The group carried a banner saying 'Clear out Rosianne' and attempted to hand officials an envelope with the word 'cash' written on it, symbolising the money she was given by businessman and murder suspect Yorgen Fenech.
Cutajar has been under pressure to step down after Times of Malta revealed her links to Fenech after he was unmasked as the owner of controversial secret company 17 Black.
Around 50 people took part in the protest, organised by civil society NGO Repubblika outside the justice and equality ministry in Valletta.
In recent weeks, Cutajar has been revealed to have received cash from Fenech as part of her role in brokering a €3.1 million property sale in 2019, which fell through after his arrest over the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.
Cutajar had taken a €9,000 cut from a €40,000 pile of cash passed on to her by Fenech as part of the property deal. She is separately being chased to repay an alleged €46,500 brokerage fee she took from the Mdina property seller.
And Times of Malta has also revealed how she solicited “help” from Fenech for a political survey in her district in 2019, once again indicating the close relationship between the pair.
Repubblika president Robert Aquilina told the crowd that the people deserved an explanation.
He asked Cutajar to explain if, when "she tried to undermine the Daphne Caruana Galizia public inquiry at the parliamentary assembly of the European Council, she was speaking in the interests of the people or in the interests of Yorgen Fenech".
She should say why she had retained a relationship with Fenech when it became public that he was the owner of 17 Black and also accepted gifts from him valued at thousands of euro, he said.
"Was the prime minister not seeing a conflict between Cutajar’s public role and the secret deals she was making with Fenech," Aquilina asked. He added that the prime minister should say if it was acceptable to him for a parliamentary secretary to get this money and never declare it.
In 2018, Fenech was revealed to have been the owner of 17 Black, a company set up to funnel money into the secret Panama accounts of former OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi.
Cutajar has denied having any business dealings with Fenech. However she has failed to answer written questions from Times of Malta about her dealings with the businessman.
The MP has never made any specific reference to receiving cash, or financial support to carry out political surveys, in her mandatory transparency filings.
Standards Commissioner George Hyzler is carrying out an investigation into the MP’s ethical conduct and Prime Minister Robert Abela has declined to take any action against her pending the investigation.
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