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Former VAT department prosecutor faces corruption charges

Prosecutor accused by subordinate of having forwarded him €100 bribe.

Karl Stagno-Navarra
11 July 2012, 12:00am
An official who led the VAT department prosecutions for the past 10 years, was charged with corrupting a subordinate within the department.
A man who for years was the VAT department's face for its regular court prosecutions, stood in the dock today morning facing corruption charges by one of his former subordinates.

There was an air of incredulity inside Magistrate Antonio Micallef Trigona's court room this morning, as Police charged the VAT Department official with corruption.

The man who led the VAT department prosecutions for the past 10 years, was charged with corrupting a subordinate within the department, by giving him €100 allegedly to allow a correction rather than an audit of a particular taxpayer he had sent for.

A visibly emotional Vince Vella, who works as a VAT inspector, told the court that the man - whom he had worked with for a number of years - had called him to his office and asked him about a taxpayer he [Vella] was investigating.

It turned out that Vella had called on a certain Mark Anthony Tabone to provide the sales ledgers relating to the first three quarters of 2010.

Following the letter to Tabone, Vella said he was called back to the man's office, who again spoke to him about the case.

Vella said that at one point, the accused allegedly handed him a Correction Letter from Mark Anthony Tabone, and a cheque - seemingly to correct the omissions in tax from the original submissions - and a €100 note.

According to Vella, the €100 note was on his desk, and he remarked 'this is for you'.

"I was shocked at seeing the banknote, I just took it and left his desk," the witness said, who added that after just five minutes, he returned to his office and returned the €100 and the Correction Letter. "I returned everything because I do not accept money for my work," Vella said.

Vella said that he was very worried, went home, spoke to his wife and returned to work the next morning and went straight to the VAT Commissioner to report what had happened.

But according to VAT department official's defence counsel, Vince Vella was the one who faced corruption allegations, and was even interrogated by the police for allegedly asking for bribes.

This was confirmed by Inspector Angelo Gafà from the Economic Crimes Unit, who is also prosecuting.

The court then heard Anthony Scicluna, a property dealer who had allegedly approached the accused , to inform him about what he had heard about a certain Vince Vella.

The witness said that he was in a bar in Birkirkara and overheard a discussion where some men said that who has a problem with VAT should look for a Vince Vella, pay €5,000 and have the case "arranged."

The witness said that he went to find the accused and tell him about what he heard because it was not fair that he had been prosecuted and repeatedly find over VAT and then employees would simply "arrange" cases.

The accused, had later told Vella he did not want him in his office anymore, warning what was going around about him.

Olga
ma nafx ghalfejn dan l-istorbju kollu fuq din l-ahbar, meta l-Gvern stess qed jahfer 80% mil-hlasijiet dovuti min dawk it taxpayers li ma jimxux mar regoli u jhalsu l-hlasijiet dovuti minnhom lid-Dipartiment. Dawn flus il-poplu Malti. Umbghad il-progetti tal-Gvern jaqghu lura ghax ma jkunx hemm flus. Halluna nghixu!
Mario Attard
Ghalhekk hemm bzonn il-Whistle Blower's ACT, halli min huwa onest jitkellem bla biza. Iz-zghir jaqlahha u il-Kbir jiskappa. Anzi, jinghataw promotions halli jiehdu dak li mhux taghhom.
rassac
How is it that the VAT department official's name has not been mentioned? I find it very strange when other names have been mentioned. Would be very interested to know this reason.
Charles Mifsud
Where does the buck stops in a such a case of a corrupt and rotten department? With the Commissioner of VAT? With his Permanent Secretary? With his Minister? With the Prime Minister? Somebody has to answer for these never-ending cases of bribery in the VAT Department. If we had a real and serious Government, with a forceful Head of the Civil Service rather than a Yes-man, and if we had the guts to fire the Heads of Department under whom these cases occur, then we could start to think afresh at having a clean and serious Service. The rotten apples must be removed first, otherwise all the apples get rotten.
parla piu piano
Pythagorean theorem VAT = PN PARTY COFFERS AFTER NEXT ELECTION VAT = MLP PARTY OFFERS Viva Malta w il-Maltin Din l-art hi tal qalbenin Din l-art helwa kollha xemx Zgur fid-dinja bhala m’hemmx Mela ejjew nghidu VIVA MALTA (CHOIR MALTA) Malta w il-Maltin (Din Malta) Ghal din l-art ahna naghmlu kollox Kollox u bil qalb Viva din l-art (Viva din L-art0 L-art tal-maltin (L-Art tal-maltin) Viva din l-art (Viva din l-art) L-art tal-Maltin Glied u gwerer din l-art rat Izda rebhet kull kumbat Ghanda swar sodi w gholjin Li qatt ma gew mirbuhin Mela ejjew nghidu VIVA MALTA (CHOIR MALTA) Malta w il-Maltin (Din Malta) Ghal din l-art ahna naghmlu kollox Kollox u bil qalb Viva din l-art (Viva din L-art0 L-art tal-maltin (L-Art tal-maltin) Viva din l-art (Viva din l-art) L-art tal-Maltin
Mark Borg
Il-huta minn rasha tintenn! X'tistenna meta ghandek xempji ta' agir ezemplari bhalma huma Tonio Fenech, Austin Gatt u l-bella compagnia.
GRACE PAVIA
A hornets' nest all the way. However all this activity must have been carried out with the complicity of accountants and auditors, especially in Malta when even a small shop is registered as a limited liability company and must present audited accounts. Does anyone remember the Price Club's saga or even the recent BOV Property fund fiasco? Was it only the creditors that lost out?
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