Tista taqra dan l-artiklu bil-Malti.
A senior official at Transport Malta has been suspended while investigations into allegations of corruption and bribery within the maritime enforcement section are carried out in the latest scandal to hit the agency.
According to information given to The Shift, the official is a manager responsible for maritime enforcement officers and has been accused of sleaze, bribery and abuse of overtime by members of his own department.
The Shift heard how several team members reported him to Transport Malta’s senior executives for his involvement in a racket that saw the deletion of hefty contravention infringement fines issued for breaking maritime rules. The accused did these favours for boat owners in return for gifts including weekend breaks in Gozo and other financial benefits.
His team members reported that their manager was approaching boat owners who had been caught breaking the rules to have their contravention cancelled in exchange for bribes and other favours. It is currently unknown whether the official acted on his own or included other officials in the racket.
Transport Malta officers also claimed that the same manager used the authority’s personnel to carry out private work inside his property and was paid overtime by the authority.
The Shift has confirmed the identity of the suspended manager but is withholding the publication of his name until Transport Malta takes official disciplinary action.
However, The Shift confirmed through multiple sources that the official concerned has been suspended from his duties. But when asked to confirm, Transport Malta CEO Jonathan Borg did not reply.
Transport Malta is no stranger to corruption scandals, with several rackets, abuse, and wrongdoing cases over the past few years.
The Shift recently revealed how new RHIBs (rigid hull inflatable boats) bought in 2021 for some €500,000 were declared unseaworthy just a year later.
The RHIBs, supplied by an importer from Rabat, Transport Minister Ian Borg’s electoral district, had to be refitted since they did not meet Transport Malta’s standards.
During an inspection just a year after being commissioned, a surveyor found structural damage on two boats that rendered them unusable.
An FOI request by The Shift for a copy of the purchase contract of these RHIBS and other information about their supplier and the procurement process used were ignored by Transport Malta, in clear breach of the FOI rules.
The Shift has now filed a call for an investigation with the Data Protection Commissioner.
Claims that Transport Malta used the same enforcement boats with an expired registration were also received by The Shift. However, the TM CEO Jonathan Borg and Minister Aaron Farrugia also refused to answer questions on the issue.