According to Infrastructure Malta, “there is good reason for withholding the document[s] requested” on the Marsa junction project from independent political candidate Arnold Cassola, who is further lifting the lid off a corruption scandal on the multi-million-euro flyover project.
What that “good reason” is, however, is unknown since Infrastructure Malta vaguely denied the request “by virtue of Part V or Part VI” of the Freedom of Information Act when denying Cassola the documentation he requested without citing any particular Article of the law in question, Cassola told The Shift when contacted. earlier today
As such, Cassola was informed that the “disclosure of information related to the Marsa project works is excluded as per Freedom of Information Act.”
“This request was done in order to shed light on the murkiness regarding the Marsa Junction deals,” Cassola said this morning. “However, Infrastructure Malta has preferred to foster its culture of secrecy and hide essential information.
Parts Part V and VI of the Freedom of Information Act contain every single reason the government can give for denying freedom of information requests, and, as such, Cassola has been left in the dark not only in terms of the information requested but also when it comes to the reason for the refusal.
“Infrastructure Malta is giving a blanket refusal to all my requests. Why all this secrecy? What is Infrastructure Malta trying to hide from the Maltese people?”
Cassola last month filed a Freedom of Information request for copies of documents such as tenders, direct orders and agreements that Infrastructure Malta struck with Robert Yildrim and his companies.
He has also requested information on payments made, any form of communication with the former minister responsible, Ian Borg, and former Infrastructure Malta CEO Fredrick Azzopardi regarding the original contractor Ayhanlar’s difficulties in completing the project as well as Robert Yildrim’s subsequent involvement in the project.
Cassola additionally requested the minutes of Infrastructure Malta Board of Directors meetings when the Marsa Project, Aylanhar, Yildrim, Shining Star Infrastructure and Construction were discussed, as well as a copy of the Board’s resolution authorising the re-assignment of the tender to Yildrim’s Shining Star Infrastructure and Construction.
But, despite the breadth of the documents requested, Infrastructure Malta did not make a single one available and cited an elusive “good reason” for withholding them.
The development comes after Cassola last Saturday gave Police Commissioner Angelo Gafa’ evidence on what he said were “grave illegalities in relation to a major project” and requested the police to urgently investigate the claims.
Referring to the Marsa junction project, Cassola said anonymous whistleblowers had leaked to him primary sources of information “that clearly demonstrate that blatant illegalities went on with regards to a multi-million major project in our country”.
He said there was there is strong evidence pointing to the involvement of at least two well-known people, as well as lesser-known people, on insider information, irregular and untransparent behind-the-scenes negotiations, fronts involved in the tendering process, a strong suspicion of commissions skimming and inexplicable bank payments.
Cassola said, “In a country like ours, where it seems that the moral compass has been totally lost, it is imperative that the police conduct serious investigations speedily, not only to ensure that the authors of all misdemeanours are brought to book but also to show that proper ethical behaviour and real justice have not been banished from our country.
“This case is an extremely serious one which can rock the foundations of the nation. I have informed Commissioner Gafa’ that if I am not called in to explain the contents of my missive by the end of this month, I will resort to further legal action.”
On 2 October, The Times of Malta reported EU anti-fraud prosecutors were looking into evidence of potential corruption in the €40 million Marsa flyover contract.