Former fisheries director now on unpaid leave, still under investigation

A precautionary suspension against the former fisheries director Andreina Fenech Farrugia, has been lifted but the government officer remains on unpaid leave

Andreina Fenech Farrugia
Andreina Fenech Farrugia

A precautionary suspension against the former fisheries director Andreina Fenech Farrugia, has been lifted but the government officer remains on unpaid leave.

Fenech Farrugia was suspended from her role after Spanish investigators in a tuna laundering bust revealed she had demanded money from the Fuentes tuna ranching boss on a separate, Spanish mobile phone number.

The case remains under police investigation, MaltaToday was told by the police.

A Spanish investigation had alleged that Fenech Farrugia used her role as director of fisheries in Malta to try and regularise illegal tuna catches. Her name cropped up in Operation Tarantella, an investigation by the Spanish environmental police which led to several arrests in 2018. Allegations also surfaced that she had demanded money from major Spanish Bluefin tuna kingpin, Jose Fuentes Garcia.

The police said that Fenech Farrugia is still the subject of a magisterial inquiry.

However, the ministry for agriculture lift her precautionary suspension on 26 February 2020. A spokesperson said she is now on unpaid leave and that the ministry has no intention of reassigning Fenech Farrugia to an official role. “There is no intention to reappoint Andreina Fenech Farrugia,” the ministry said.

The former fisheries secretary had pledged Malta’s full collaboration in the investigations.

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