Next month the Court will be hearing a case against the former Secretary General of the Labour Party Jimmy Magro on corruption charges following his arraignment by the police through a summons presented earlier this year.
A spokesman for the police confirmed to The Shift that after three years of investigations, the police have finally arraigned Magro, with the case expected to be heard by Magistrate Ian Farrugia.
In 2017, the Permanent Commission against Corruption had concluded a probe against Magro in which it found that the former Labour politician had solicited bribes related to a €250,000 public tender when he was responsible of the Association of Local Councils.
According to the Commission, although no money was exchanged, this was “a case of corruption or an attempt of corruption” by a public officer that should be ultimately decided by a Court”.
The Commission, presided over by former Judge Lawrence Quintano, had added that it was “morally convinced” that Magro had sought money from the tender.
The case revolves around a 2014 public tender for the commissioning of a €250,000 compost machine. According to Victor Bonello, one of the bidders, Magro – who was as a member of the tender’s evaluation committee at the time – had asked for a €25,000 cut to award him the tender.
In his testimony before the Corruption Commission, Magro had denied the claims, together with further allegations that he had also asked the bidders to pay for a trip he had made to Alsace, France.
He had said that at in 2014 he earned an income of €100,000 a year and did not need to solicit any money.
Magro, who served as Labour’s Secretary General for 12 years until 2003, was employed as chairman of a State entity on a person of trust basis when Joseph Muscat was elected prime minister in 2013.
The entity – Major Projects Coordination Agency – which has now folded was set up from scratch by Magro and formed part of Malta Enterprise. It was responsible for major government projects with a multi-million euro budget.
Soon after the revelations by the Commission against Corruption, Magro was suspended from work but not sacked. Instead, he was only suspended on half of his €50,000 annual salary until his contract expired in 2018.
The police’s probe into Magro, based on the Commission’s report concluded in 2017, took three years to complete.
In an attempt to stop or slow down the start of criminal procedures against him, in 2018, Magro filed a constitutional case against the Commission and the prime minister claiming that he had suffered huge damage as a result of the corruption probe. He had also claimed that he was not given the opportunity to defend himself.
Magro’s claim was dismissed by the Constitutional Court earlier this month.