Speaker and government block further witnesses on Standards Commissioner’s report on Cutajar

The parliamentary ethics committee voted in favour of forwarding all the evidence compiled on former parliamentary secretary Rosianne Cutajar’s involvement in the sale of a property by Standards Commissioner George Hyzler to the tax commissioner as well as the transcripts of the committee meetings held on this issue so far and also call for the tax commissioner’s sworn testimony.

In another tumultuous meeting held on Thursday morning, government whip Glenn Bedingfield and Justice Minister Edward Zammit Lewis followed committee chair Anġlu Farrugia’s recommendation, which had led to the suspension of the previous sitting as opposition MPs Karol Aquilina and Therese Comodini Cachia disagreed with the position taken.

Aquilina and Comodini Cachia insisted on a list of 16 witnesses they wished to summon, including committee member Zammit Lewis and Cutajar as the subject of Hyzler’s report which declared she had committed an ethics breach according to the results of his investigation.

Government MPs, egged on by Farrugia, insisted on providing no guarantees sought by the opposition’s committee members for the summoning of further witnesses beyond the tax commissioner, who had started his own, separate investigation into whether Cutajar also breached laws within his remit.

The last session was suspended by Farrugia when he walked out. The committee chair’s casting vote had rejected a proposal filed by opposition MPs, who kept insisting that other witnesses besides tax commissioner Martin Gaerty should be summoned for the next sitting.

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The great tax diversion

On Thursday morning, the same positions were kept on all sides, with the main stumbling block revolving around the specifics of what sort of “additional investigation” should be conducted by the committee.

After the committee chair stood by his position multiple times, agreeing with government MPs that the tax commissioner should be the first witness to be heard out, with the final vote on any “additional investigation” ruling that Gaerty will now receive all relevant information compiled by Hyzler and be summoned to testify.

No specific date for the next phase of the hearing was established. While Aquilina insisted that Gaerty should be summoned “first thing tomorrow morning”, Farrugia rebutted that time needs to be given to Gaerty to go over the evidence.

In spite of the committee chair’s renewed efforts to maintain order within the meeting by switching off microphones when interventions were made out of turn, animosity between government and opposition members was nonetheless present.

Bedingfield accused opposition MPs of “arrogance that trumps every sense of respect”, Comodini Cachia accused government MPs and the committee’s chair of setting up a position that would lead to a refusal of any further witnesses being heard when Gaerty’s testimony is eventually heard.

“As I said last time, the tax commissioner was certainly not waiting for us to start his investigation when the information is in the public domain. We have no issues with sending everything over in a formal request, but he has most of the documentation needed,” Comodini Cachia insisted, with Farrugia complaining that the opposition’s MP “does not get to decide what information the tax commissioner needs”.

“As far as I know, the tax commissioner can follow us live, like everyone else,” Comodini Cachia argued, with both opposition MPs accusing Farrugia of taking a “U-turn” when he said that he wanted to continue investigating the case but only after Gaerty’s testimony as well as denying the right to hearing all relevant witnesses as enshrined in the legislation that set up the committee.

“You’re setting this up in bad faith so the tax commissioner can say that he had started investigating and we therefore have to drop the case,” she added, referring to how Hyzler himself had stated that he would have dropped the investigation if he knew Gaerty had taken up the investigation from his end.

In spite of opposition MPs urging the committee to immediately hear out all relevant witnesses and agree to a schedule, with Aquilina declaring the tax commissioner’s investigation as a separate thread from the committee’s remit, the committee’s chair as well as government MPs refused to budge from their position.

                           
                               
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Henry s Pace
Henry s Pace
1 month ago

‘ Anglu Farrugia, blocking the opposition from calling other witnesses, including Cutajar’s associate Charles Farrugia, known as it-Tikka. ‘
One and all even GAHAN already what Marvin Geary would say befire this board led by the stupid speaker anglu.
Marvin Gaerty would just say that following the email sent by farrugia – it-tikka it does not appear the rosianne had received any form of senserija.
So the matter is then closed.
As regards whether it-tikka should be called before the board the oppositions MPs have the absolute right to call any witnesses like the two government members.
anglu there is too much to hide.
Your are not fit for purpose.
anglu unless you give equal right to all sides of thid commission you confirm that your neutrality is non-existent

Henry s Pace
Henry s Pace
1 month ago

Anglu blocked the two PN MPs.
Your neutrality is non-existent there is more to hide.
Anglu what is this fear all about ?

Lawrence Mifsud
Lawrence Mifsud
1 month ago
Reply to  Henry s Pace

TRASPARENZA…

John
John
1 month ago

Is the FIAU investigating this case?

saviour mamo
saviour mamo
1 month ago

Parlament għamluħ burdell.

carmelo borg
1 month ago

Nispera li FATF tinnota dawn il hnizriet li qeghdin issiru. Nixtieq immur il parlament nixtri kaxxa lolipos tas silg tal lumi hu inqassahom Shame

Godfrey Leone Ganado
Godfrey Leone Ganado
1 month ago

I followed today’s sitting and the one before.
In my opinion, the minutes of the last sitting do NOT faithfully represent the conclusions of the Speaker, and I hope that they were not manipulated by a hidden hand or hands.
The Speaker had clearly concluded that the meeting will be adjourned, to give Dr Hyzler more time to investigate further and possibly deeper, any more available evidence and/or to interview more witnesses before he gives his final conclusions.
This was prompted by Glen Bedingfield, when he asked Dr Hyzler why he did not interview Yorgen Fenech. Dr Hyzler responded that he did not need to, as the evidence he had was solid enough, to render a personal interview absolutely unnecessary for him to arrive at an informed conclusion.
It became clear at that stage that the PL, aided by a stooge Speaker, had already devised the conclusion their Mafia Government wanted.
Was I in any way surprised this morning? Of course NOT, just as much as I am not surprised with the damning conclusions of the Independent Inquiry on the heinous assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia, concocted collectively by the same State Mafia crowd and their associated mafia virgins.

Raw Deal
Raw Deal
1 month ago

That’s all these people know. It’s an inherent trait. It makes us strangers in our own country. They have strength in numbers.

Isle of corruption
Isle of corruption
1 month ago

A caption competition should be started as to what Rosie whispered to booby

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