Nationalist MPs insist Rosianne Cutajar must be removed from Labour parliamentary group

Opposition MPs Karol Aquilina and Therese Comodini Cachia say Prime Minster Robert Abela is trying to shift the attention away from Rosianne Cutajar

PN MPs Karol Aquilina and Therese Comodini Cachia
PN MPs Karol Aquilina and Therese Comodini Cachia

Nationalist Party MPs Karol Aquilina and Therese Comodini Cachia have once again insisted that Rosianne Cutajar should be removed from the Labour Party’s parliamentary group.

“A week has passed since the Standards Commissioner report, and Prime Minister Robert Abela has once again refused to side with Malta and chose to side with Rosianne Cutajar,” Aquilina said. “What does she know that makes her so untouchable?”

Friday’s press conference follows one addressed by the same MPs on Tuesday, where they had called for parliament’s Standards in Public Life Committee to adopt the report on Cutajar when it meets again on Monday.

The PN MPs said that Cutajar is subject to four investigations – by the Standards Commissioner, the Tax Compliance Unit within the Inland Revenue Department, the police and the European Council Assembly Committee.

“Despite all this, the PM is still trying to shift the attention away from Cutajar,” they said.

An ethics probe has found that Cutajar received a brokerage fee from the sale of an Mdina palazzo to Yorgen Fenech, which she failed to declare in her parliamentary declaration of earnings. Cutajar denies receiving the brokerage fee and insists she was not involved in the property deal but only suggested Fenech's name. Subsequently it transpired that Cutajar is subject to a tax investigation by the Tax Compliance Unit that is probing the deal.

After the Standards Commissioner's report was published last Monday, the Prime Minister informed Cutajar that her temporary resignation from parliamentary secretary last February was being made permanent. However, Abela has so far seen no reason to remove Cutajar from the PL parliamentary group.

The PN is insisting that Cutajar should resign from parliament and if she fails to do so must be removed from the PL parliamentary group.

But the PN is also caught in a quandary since back in 2019, its MPs Herman Schiavone and Kristy Debono had met with Fenech when it was already known that he owned 17 Black to seek a sponsorship for a conference.

Asked to explain the difference between that situation and Cutajar’s, Comodini Cachia said that disciplinary action had been taken against the two MPs, with Schiavone suspending himself from the PN’s parliamentary group.

She also reiterated that Cutajar’s case had no semblance to PN leader Bernard Grech’s tax dues prior to the leadership election. She was reacting to Abela's statement on Wednesday that if Cutajar is not allowed to contest the general election, neither should the Opposition leader.

“We are speaking of two completely different things,” Comodini Cachia said.