Repubblika president Robert Aquilina has called out Labour MP Rosianne Cutajar following her 20-minute speech in parliament on Tuesday in which she singled him out, using parliamentary privilege.
He pointed out that she was it was the MP who avoided meeting civil society activists when they turned up at her door while those present, including the media, were entertained at how responsive ministry employees were to accepting an envelope they believed to be cash being delivered to her.
Last February, Repubblika activists turned up at her ministry with “Cash for Rosianne”, alluding to the payment she received while brokering a property deal with the man accused of financing the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, in which she allegedly pocketed almost €50,000 in cash for her role.
“What Rosianne Cutajar doesn’t know – and she will learn of this from this post – is that when I went to her ministry with “cash” in hand her employees genuinely thought I had an envelope full of cash for her,” Aquilina said.
When Repubblika entered the building, Aquilina told government employees about the envelope and suggested they call “It-Tikka” – the individual involved in the cash transfer on the property deal Cutajar in which Cutajar was alleged involved.
It leads to a hilarious moment in which a government employee actually says he’ll see if Charles ‘it-Tikka’ Farrugia can be reached. This is backed by footage from a press report.
Cutajar’s claims in parliament that Aquilina would not “confront her” but in reality the live stream of the event at her office shows she was following the feed while remaining behind closed doors in her office, refusing to emerge to meet the activists.
Multiple journalists were also witnessing the interactions before the live streams began, until they were eventually asked to leave the reception area as the employees panicked when they realised phones and cameras were filming the whole event.
When asked whether the police force has begun an investigation into Cutajar on Repubblika’s request, a spokesperson told The Shift that “the MPF is not in a position to confirm or otherwise, such information”, citing Article 87 of the Police Act.
Article 87 refers to two sub-clauses, states: “No police officer shall give any details to the press or the broadcasting media regarding the identity of any person arrested on a reasonable suspicion that he committed an offence”.
“The police shall not issue to the press, either directly or indirectly, any information about the identity of the person who is about to be charged before the courts or of any investigation.”
Cutajar’s speech in parliament was her first spoken rebuttal to the NGO’s recent request to the police commissioner to investigate her for breach of the General Elections Act after she distributed oranges at Dar Pinto, an elderly home in her constituency.
While failing to address any of the serious accusations levelled against her, Cutajar used parliament to claim the NGO “is an extension of a clique within the opposition that is frustrated by their electoral losses” due to the familial link between Robert Aquilina and opposition MP Karol Aquilina, his brother.
She remains under investigation.