Transport Malta officials were told to lie under oath when providing testimony on the irregular procurement of five boats for the transport regulator’s enforcement section, according to a Nationalist Party statement.
The opposition party called for the results of an internal investigation within Transport Malta to be made public and for the police to take action on the “evidence” it had at hand.
The Shift revealed last year how the rigid hull inflatable boats (RHIBs) were found unseaworthy just a few weeks after they were delivered. The so-called investment was made by former Transport Minister Ian Borg in July 2021, who claimed they would cost some €500,000.
In a press release on Friday, opposition MPs Darren Carabott and Ivan Castillo called for the outcomes of a Transport Malta internal investigation launched last year to be made public.
While the results of the internal investigation were handed over to the police, “no action had been taken,” they said.
This was despite evidence given to the police that showed “[Transport Malta officials] were asked to lie under oath and to irregularly amend issued fines,” they said.
The opposition raised questions on whether those being investigated still had contact with the officials testifying in the case “considering this could affect the outcome of the investigation.”
Carabott and Castillo also raised questions on fines that were irregularly cancelled or intentionally delayed in their processing and fuel allowance abuses at the same section of the regulator.
The statement noted how “no enforcement was being carried out on Maltese waters, leading to a security risk” since the boats had been shored due to defects listed in a technical report just a few weeks after they were procured.
“This section within Transport Malta has been left without the required resources, resulting in 18 officials left waiting to do their jobs,” they stated.
An audit into the RHIB’s procurement process by the National Audit Office, published last December, confirmed The Shift’s flagging of the irregular deal. It found that the 2020 tender issued for their purchase was evaluated in just one day.
Following The Shift’s reports, accompanied by evidence published by independent candidate Arnold Cassola, the Nationalist Party opposition had called for an investigation into this case and for former Transport Minister Aaron Farrugia to act.