One man stepped forward in court and vouched for Christian Borg, accused of kidnapping and linked to a criminal network of drug smuggling and money laundering, who gained notoriety for his links to Prime Minister Robert Abela in a questionable transfer deal.
Borg was recently released on bail over a case that saw a man kidnapped, beaten and threatened. Joe Camenzuli, 63, the Labour Party’s official photographer for the past 20 years while simultaneously running his retail outlet in Valletta, was the individual who offered to guarantee bail for Borg in court last week.
“I have known him for the past five years and I can vouch for him,” Camenzuli told the magistrate before bail was granted for the 28-year-old millionaire.
Further research shows that Camenzuli was installed as a new director on Borg’s two companies: Princess Operations Limited and No Deposit Cars Malta Ltd. The move was interpreted by legal sources as a way to try to avoid the government having to rescind lucrative contracts given to Borg’s companies in recent years.
The companies have won various tenders and direct orders running into hundreds of thousands of euro from Transport Malta and LESA, among others.
Borg is alleged to be part of a criminal gang involved in drug smuggling and money laundering, including businesses acting as fronts. Investigations by the police are said to be ongoing.
Who is Joe Camenzuli?
Camenzuli has been one of the insiders of the Labour Party for the last 20 years, particularly since the time when Alfred Sant took over the leadership of the Labour Party.
While accompanying Joseph Muscat almost daily on all his public appearances, Camenzuli still ran his business, a clothes shop, called Pastell Boutique in South Street, Valletta.
Research conducted by The Shift shows that apart from his close connections to Borg, now even directing his car hire business, Camenzuli is also involved in business deals with other Labour insiders.
While Camenzuli is the sole owner of Bali Company Limited, in 2020 he set up Double 7 Ltd with Joe Vella Bonnici, chair of the agency managing the cash for passports programme for a number of years after 2013. It is not clear what type of business Camenzuli and Vella Bonnici are in together.
Until a few years ago, Camenzuli was also in business with the owner of James Caterers, James Barbara, involved in the record €274 million direct order to build and manage a new 500-bed wing at St Vincent De Paul.
In 2016, Camenzuli set up Meatgang Valletta Ltd, together with Barbara and Neil Azzopardi – a businessman involved in the renewable energy sector through Global Tech Malta, based in San Gwann.
Also, together with other Labour activists, Camenzuli was placed on the board of Engineering Resources Limited, a public entity, opening the doors to more contacts within the government.
Still serving, Camenzuli’s fellow directors include Kevin Chircop, the chairman of Enemed and of a State company that manages the controversial Montenegro wind farm project, Alessandro Lia, the son of Labour’s lawyer Pawlu Lia, Sharon Penza, daughter of Labour activist and donor Carmelo Penza who is the owner of Penza Tarmac Ltd, and Alex Scerri Herrera – son of Judge Consuelo Scerri Herrera, sister of the culture minister.