Attorney General refuses request for monitoring of VGH-linked bank accounts

The Attorney General said the Courts had no legal competence to make such a request given that its role at this stage was limited to determining whether the prerequisites for an inquiry exist

Repubblika asked the court last week to request that the AG take all the necessary steps to preserve evidence on the case
Repubblika asked the court last week to request that the AG take all the necessary steps to preserve evidence on the case

The Attorney General has refused a request by the courts for his office to issue a monitoring order to monitor bank accounts linked to a number of companies owned by Ram Tumuluri, a former director of Vitals Global Healthcare (VGH).

Last Friday, The Shift News reported that Tumuluri was shutting down nine companies incorporated in Jersey. On the same day, Repubblika filed a court application asking magistrate Claire Stafrace Zammit request that the AG issue a European Investigative Order.

In a decree delivered by the magistrate on Friday evening, the court ordered that Repubblika’s application be notified to the Attorney General so that "all necessary steps" are taken to satisfy the monitoring order.

The court reserved pronouncing itself on the rest of Repubblika’s request, namely for a European Investigative Order to be issued, to a later date.

Responding to the Court today, the AG said that the law gave him the power to order a monitoring order on a bank, but he also pointed to Article 91(3) of the constitution, which states that the Attorney General “shall not be subject to the direction or control of any other person or authority”.

READ MORE: Repubblika seeks urgent European investigative order on Vitals

He goes on to tell the court that it did not have the legal competence to decree on the application filed on Friday, given that its role at this stage is to determine whether the prerequisites for an inquiry are present.

Finally, the AG said that from the information available to suggest that the “suspects” in the case had “started, or given orders for the cleaning or elimination of evidence”.

Earlier this month, the NGO filed a court application asking for a magisterial inquiry. It said that its application clearly showed that ministers Edward Scicluna, Chris Cardona and Konrad Mizzi had given the group of investors behind VGH and unfair advantage in the contract’s selection process.

Repubblika said that despite there being abundant evidence of wrongdoing, the country’s institutions had not done their job and had taken no action about “serious suspicions of corruption and money laundering”.

It said it had requested an inquiry to preserve evidence, in the absence of any investigation by the police, adding that the fact that it had decided to go request an inquiry itself didn’t absolve the police of their responsibility to investigate.

READ MORE: Repubblika requests criminal probe into VGH hospitals deal

 

More in Court & Police
Man injured at Qrendi construction site
Court & Police
Karl Azzopardi
Motorcyclist seriously injured in Xewkija accident
48-year-old hospitalised after Paceville bar fight
Stabbing leaves 24-year-old seriously injured
Court & Police
Karl Azzopardi