Updated: Mallia reacts to PN's claims, PN insists on responsibility
The Nationalist Party today accused Minister Emanuel Mallia of failing to report bribery allegations to the Police in 2010 when he represented John’s Group as a lawyer and was privy to information that George Farrugia had diverted funds from the family company Powerplan.
“Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and Minister Emanuel Mallia must shoulder political responsibility for what George Farrugia told the Public Accounts Committee under oath yesterday,” the PN said. The PAC is carrying out an inquiry following the Auditor General’s report on Enemalta’s fuel procurement policy.
George Farrugia yesterday told the PAC that Emanuel Mallia was aware of the bribery in 2010 in connection to oil procurement. Farrugia added that Mallia had actually threatened to report him to the police unless he reached an agreement with John’s Group, the PN said.
“Emanuel Mallia knew of the corruption three years ago and did nothing to uncover it to stop the damage to Enemalta and the country. Joseph Muscat and Emanuel Mallia cannot stay silent and have to answer to Farrugia’s revelations and how they refrained from working in the national interest and using the information they had on corruption for electoral purposes,” the PN added.
Emanuel Mallia reacts
Home Affairs Minister Emanuel Mallia reacted to the criticism by the PN saying that he acted correctly and professionally as a lawyer bound by professional secrecy.
Dr Mallia said that he was engaged as a lawyer in 2010 over a case of misappropriation of funds by Mr Farrugia from the company John’s Group. This was corroborated by a letter dated September 27, 2010, which said that “this appointment relates specifically to the misappropriation of funds by the said Mr Farrugia against the company”.
The Minister added that it would have been better for the PN to understand the meaning of professional secrecy which bound all lawyers. Furthermore, he was not in politics at the time and the Minister responsible was Austin Gatt and the PN should investigate the donation made to Dr Gatt for his electoral campaign.
The political responsibility for the oil procurement corruption was and remains the PN’s, Dr Mallia said, and not his since he acted in a professional manner as he had always done during his career of 38 years as a lawyer.
PN reacts to Minister's statement
In a reaction to the Minister’s statement, the PN said that Mr Farrugia was not Dr Mallia’s client and therefore professional secrecy did not apply. The Opposition added that the Minister failed to explain how he said nothing on oil procurement corruption for three years but threatened to report George Farrugia to the Police unless he reached settlement with John’s Group.