Police handed internal TM investigation on RHIBs scandal – no charges issued yet

Aqra bil-Malti

Transport Malta has confirmed that it has passed the conclusions of an internal investigation into the scandalous purchase of defective RHIBs (Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats) to the police for possible criminal action.

No charges have as yet been issued against any of the officials involved.

Refusing a Freedom of Information (FOI) request for a copy of the internal investigation concluded weeks ago, Transport Malta said it was precluded from publishing a copy as it was passed on to the police for further investigation and criminal action.

“We regret to inform you that your request cannot be met because a document is exempt if its disclosure could reasonably be expected to prejudice the conduct of an investigation of a breach, or possible breach, of the law… or prejudice the enforcement or proper administration of the law in a particular instance,” Transport Malta said in its reply.

The Shift is informed that the investigation reached the same conclusions as those of a separate audit by the National Audit Office (NAO).

The internal Transport Malta investigation identified the key senior officials involved in this scandal, but sources told The Shift that the police have not yet questioned anyone involved.

Recently, The Shift reported that Patrick Pollacco, who was the head of Transport Malta’s maritime enforcement during the time of the scandal, has left his position. He had requested a consultancy contract but was refused.

Additionally, his deputy, Rudolph Muscat, who was supposed to take over his position, was not given the role.

The scandal involves a tender issued in 2020 to buy five boats at the cost of €800,000, awarded to a Rabat dealer. Rabat is the same district contested by Minister Ian Borg who, at the time, was responsible for Transport Malta.

A National Audit Office investigation found that the tender was evaluated in just one day.

Mere weeks after the RHIBs were delivered to Transport Malta, most of them developed structural defects, prompting surveyors to declare them unseaworthy.

The five RHIBs are still in Transport Malta’s possession but remain unused and so far, Transport Malta has not taken any legal action against the RHIBs’ supplier.

In a statement following the latest developments, Opposition spokesman Ivan Castillo called for prompt action by the police to stop the deluge of scandals at the transport regulator.

Apart from the RHIBs, Transport Malta has been involved in a raft of scandals. The latest include instances of corruption in the issuing of maritime contraventions, the purchase of fuel by Transport Malta officials to fill their private pleasure boats with invoices issued to the Authority, and the abusive management of berthing spots in Cospicua, organised as a private business by Authority employees.

Transport Malta is currently under the political responsibility of Minister Chris Bonett.

This investigation was supported by OCCRP and the Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation.

                           

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2 Comments
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Mick
Mick
1 month ago

Nothing going on here, the shredder overheated and had to be replaced.

Joseph Muscat too
Joseph Muscat too
29 days ago

Il huta min rasha tinten.

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