Tax Commissioner will testify in Rosianne Cutajar parliamentary ethics probe

He has been called to testify "as soon as possible" in front of parliament's ethics committee

Malta's Inland Revenue Commissioner will be summoned to testify in front of parliament's ethics committee "as soon as possible", as part of an investigation into alleged ethical breaches by Labour MP Rosianne Cutajar.

The government MPs in the committee insisted that Marvin Gaerty, the tax comissioner, ought to testify first. While the opposition members of the committee agreed to this, they said that other witnesses ought to testify as well, including Cutajar's associate Charles Farrugia, known as it-Tikka.

Glenn Bedingfield and Edward Zamit Lewis, both government MPs, asserted that they would not commit to having any other witnesses.

The committee consists of two government MPs and two opposition MPs. Due to this structure, votes taken within the committee often end in deadlock, and with Speaker Anġlu Farrugia enjoying the casting vote on a given matter.

This meeting was no different. Farrugia agreed with the government MPs of the committee, insisting that the tax commissioner's testimony is top priority in the investigation.

Since the MPs did not want to commit to having further witnesses, Nationalist MP Therese Comodini Cachia voted against the proposal in fear that the proposal would quash all chances of calling other witnesses to testify.

"I'm going to vote against this proposal not because I don't want the tax commissioner to testify, but because I would be leaving this room with no guarantee that I would be able to call other witnesses forward."

Nationalist MP Karol Aquilina suggested that Gaerty and Charles Farrugia be brought to testify in the same sitting, but the proposal was shot down.

The committee investigating a report by the Standards Commissioner which found Rosianne Cutajar guilty of breaching ethics after failing to declare brokerage fees from a property deal involving murder suspect Yorgen Fenech.

When the committee took a vote on whether to accept, reject, or further investigate the report, the Speaker voted with the opposition MPs on renewing the investigation.

'Parliament pludges into impunity' - Repubblika

In reaction to the committee meeting, Repubblika accused the Speaker and government MPs in the committee of impunity.

The NGO stated that while the Speaker expressed interest in continuing investigations into the report, he is now saying that those investigations should not include witnesses there were directly involved in her and Yorgen Fenech's dealings.

"This behaviour is shameful and sends a message that the powerful are protected by Maltese Parliament. This is even more scandalous given that this same Parliament will meet tomorrow to discuss the public inquiry report into the state's involvement in the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia," it said.