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Record criminal, civil libels over FTS probe

Businessman Sandro Ciliberti has slapped four MaltaToday journalists with criminal libels, along with seven other civil libel cases
 

20 March 2017, 10:05am
Sandro Ciliberti featured in news reports on his role as middleman for the procurement of school and laboratory equipment
Sandro Ciliberti featured in news reports on his role as middleman for the procurement of school and laboratory equipment
MaltaToday’s executive editor Matthew Vella has been slapped with three criminal libels, together with managing editor Saviour Balzan, online editor Miriam Dalli and journalist Tim Diacono, instituted by businessman Sandro Ciliberti over reports into the procurement scandal at the Foundation of Tomorrow’s Schools.

Ciliberti filed another seven civil libel cases against various MaltaToday journalists on the same subject.

The reports concern the chronology of events before the resignation of the FTS chief executive Philip Rizzo, and the role of Edward Caruana, a person of trust of education minister Evarist Bartolo, responsible for FTS procurement.

Caruana was suspended from his job since allegations of kickbacks from FTS payments surfaced. Caruana is also the brother of the education ministry’s permanent secretary Joseph Caruana.

Unlike other reports of alleged abuse, the FTS scandal did not lead to the appointment of an independent inquiry.

Ciliberti featured in news reports on his role as middleman for the procurement of school and laboratory equipment, as well having won a beach concession in Comino. In 2016, his private residence in Xaghra was rocked by a minor explosion, in which nobody was injured. Ciliberti and his partner Alexandra Bosio were inside the garage at the time of the explosion.

Ciliberti’s Al-Nibras and Hangman firms both took contracts from the FTS for the supply of lab equipment and school furniture to state schools, clinching some €2 million in public contracts since 2013, 75% of which were won in 2015. These included 21 procurement contracts won by public tender for lab refrigerators, furniture, and spectrophotometers for the Water Services Corporation, office furniture for the University of Malta, the Gozo Sixth Form.

In all, Al-Nibras and Hangman are together listed 54 times as suppliers for products and services to 36 state schools. 

A former member of the Valletta FC committee, Ciliberti in 2010 was one of seven individuals suspended by the Malta FA discipline board for his involvement in the scuffles that broke out during a Super Cup match. The group were later cleared by a court of inciting people to commit a crime.