Oath for new magistrates put on hold over nominee’s pending criminal case

In his role at the Malta Business Registry, the nominated magistrate is facing criminal action in the Ivory Coast


The Office of the President has been constrained to postpone the oath of office ceremony for the four new magistrates selected last week by the Judicial Appointments Committee after it resulted that one of the nominees has a pending criminal case in a foreign jurisdiction.

The issue was only discovered after the selection was made by the appointments committee, which carries out due diligence on candidates for the Bench, concerns lawyer Kevan Azzopardi who, until a few days ago, was serving as the Malta Business Registry’s official receiver.

Court sources told The Shift it has now resulted that, in his official MBR role, Azzopardi is facing criminal action in the Ivory Coast instituted against him by Pefaco International plc.

Azzopardi is also being held personally responsible for €750,000 in damages.

The Shift is informed that the case against Azzopardi was instituted in the Ivory Coast in February 2022 and that he was aware of it. The case in the Ivory Coast was also raised recently during an ongoing court case in Malta.

The case concerns Azzopardi’s official role at the MBR and his work as an official receiver, but it was still filed against him in his personal capacity.

Kevan Azzopardi

It is not known whether Azzopardi has informed the Judicial Appointment Committee of the state of affairs when he submitted his application for the Bench. Whatever the case, the information is only now coming to light.

According to the new nomination system for judiciary members, candidates are invited to apply for a post. It is then up to the Committee – presided over by the Chief Justice and including sitting members of the judiciary and the Chamber of Advocates presidents – to scrutinise candidates, perform thorough due diligence and come up with a list of candidates who are then officially appointed by the President of Malta.

The information about Azzopardi’s predicament appears to have either slipped through the net or was waived by the Committee.

The Shift is informed the oath ceremony has now been postponed to next week to give time for the impasse to be resolved.

Azzopardi was one of four magistrates selected last week and declared as the chosen new magistrates by President George Vella. The other three nominated lawyers are Gianella Camilleri Busuttil, Abigail Critien and Joseph Gatt.


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1 month ago

The Church used to make a Due Diligence Procedure before Marriages were made. For three Sundays in a row the announcement was made for any objections to the marriage to be made, and then the final statement was , that after the marriage was done, keep your mouth shut , to those that knew of any objections to the Marriage. The Church was wiser years ago than today’s Government . Look at this mess. The candidate knew of this problem. So just replace him. This is not something he did not know about. When will this country stop being servile and do what has to be done?
If this problem was declared , then three should have been appointed and wait for the 4th one clear the problem.

Last edited 1 month ago by makjavel
Francis Sammut
Francis Sammut
1 month ago
Reply to  makjavel

I can’t see what this got to do with church marriage procedures makjavel!. And marriage is not ‘made!’ And the announcement by the priest or whoever is officiating the marriage procedures when he/she utters the words ‘speak now or forever hold your peace’ (pronounced to the guests congregation) are said before the couple are officially married, not after!

1 month ago

Looking at the antics of local politicians, having a pending criminal case is the perfect qualification for the job.

Godfrey Leone Ganado
Godfrey Leone Ganado
1 month ago

I am very surprised that no mention has been made of a ‘fit and proper’ declaration form being requested by the Nominations Committee from every person applying for the post.
This is part of due diligence procedures, at least for the financial services sector.
A nominee signs to confirm amongst others, that:
1. He/she has never been adjudged bankrupt.
2. He/She has no pending or threatened litigation in a court of law.
The standard list is normally long and tailored to the demands of the office applied for, and its objective is transparency to assist the interviewers/assessors in being adequately informed to assure themselves that the candidate is fit and proper.
If the committee did not ask for such declarations, in my opinion, they themselves are not fit and proper to select those who have to responsibly prioritise ethics and respect independence and morals over any other considerations, personal or otherwise.
If, on the other hand, they did so, they have to recommend charges against the individual for signing a false declaration.

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