Official car for holiday abroad: Bonett refuses invoices request

Parliamentary Secretary for European Funds Chris Bonett, who The Shift recently exposed as having taken a family holiday to Sicily with his government-paid vehicle, is refusing to provide evidence that he paid for any of the trip’s costs.

Bonett this week refused to answer The Shift’s request for copies of invoices pertaining to the holiday’s catamaran trip and fuel consumption.

This is the second round of questions from The Shift that Bonett has not answered, the first having been a set of questions sent to him before the publication of The Shift’s first story.

In the wake of that story, the junior minister responsible for EU funds attempted to ridicule the media, as well as independent politician Arnold Cassola, who asked the Standards Commissioner to open an investigation by telling them to “check the rules”.

Speaking to the media earlier this week, Bonett admitted, as reported by The Shift, that he used his official car to take a family holiday abroad – an unprecedented occurrence – but insisted he had done nothing wrong.

“I look forward to the Standards Commissioner’s investigation (a position the Prime Minister is currently keeping vacant) as I’ve done nothing wrong,” he told journalists.

Taking a sarcastic dig at The Shift for exposing his actions, Bonett answered journalists’ questions put to him at a press event by inviting them to “check the rules, the code of ethics and manuals before writing.”

The Shift did check all the rules, codes and manuals before the publication of the story – facts that other media outlets should have checked before running a story allowing the parliamentary secretary to claim headlines dismissing the abuse without a clear explanation.

The ‘Manual on the Transport and Travel Procedures’ issued by the Office of the Prime Minister for the public service at large precludes the use of official cars when not on official business.

The manual also obliges ministers and parliamentary secretaries to obtain approval through the Cabinet office in the case of overseas travel. The Shift is informed that Bonett had no such authorisation.

Research also shows that apart from the basic ethics all politicians are obliged to follow without the need for manuals – including not using public funds for personal enjoyment or gain – Bonett appears to be in breach of the ministerial code of ethics on several counts.

The code states that parliamentary secretaries “shall act and behave according to standards of the highest level both on a personal basis and in the performance of their constitutional duties.”

It also states that members of Cabinet “shall ensure that there is no conflict of interest between their public duties and personal interests”, “should not be motivated by a spirit of gain for himself, his family and friends”, “shall exercise the highest level of diligence including in the expenditure of public funds” and “shall be transparent in their operations and open to the necessary scrutiny”.

The parliamentary secretary has been in office only a few months, but he has already made a name for himself for the wrong reasons.

In 2017, when he was employed as a person of trust with then-Parliamentary Secretary (now Minister) Clifton Grima, Bonett broke procurement rules when, as acting SportMalta CEO, he approved some €14 million in direct orders for the construction of a new shooting range in Ta’ Kandja.

The National Audit Office condemned his actions. The list of direct order beneficiaries included the Bonnici Group, a client of the private legal office of Prime Minister Robert Abela and his wife.

Sometime later, Clifton Grima terminated Bonett’s ministry consultancy contract. Prime Minister Robert Abela, however, intervened and placed Bonett on the payroll of then Environment Minister Aaron Farrugia and backed him to contest the general election in the Fourth District in a direct challenge to Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne.

                           
                           
                               
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viv
viv
1 month ago

A child would know better.

Mick
Mick
1 month ago
Reply to  viv

I would agree, however this one is one of the neanderthals who under the POT umbrella has got himself a job for “life” using our hard earned taxes, his mental ability will be far below that of a normal child.

Greed
Greed
1 month ago
Reply to  viv

The child is the kid sitting next to him called Silvio who should be at school shouldn’t he?

KLAUS
KLAUS
1 month ago

Will he have to go to jail ASAP?

makjavel
makjavel
1 month ago

Unless you are a crook you will never get to a labour cabinet job?
If the media asks a minister if he ever robbed a bank , the answer would be , to mind your own business?
Shift news has already been told in court by the government’s lawyer not to ask questions if Shift News did not expect not to go to court to get them answered.
What is next , bombing an investigative journalist is fair game , because too many questions were being asked?

carlos
1 month ago

pure pigs at the trough

Carmelo Borg
1 month ago

Dan il bravu li ghadu kif beda jilbes il qalziet fil politika tiga taghllem kif Jara kif jista u jakwista bil qerq. Jiddispjacini NGHID li ghanda PRIM MINISTRU BALALU Jew qed jibza minhom ghax jikxfulu tieghu. PRIM TA QABLEK KIEN QAL LI MIN MA JIGGILIX IL KORRUZJONI U KORROTI.

Steve
Steve
1 month ago

Mejjet bil-guh!

Judy
Judy
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve

One better then the other

Judy
Judy
1 month ago

When one is greedy and gobbles all in site finely he/she will feel terribly sick and will have to vomit everything out, That day will come and people hopefully will then open their eyes and minds and realise who they voted in to govern

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