[WATCH] Prime Minister won't remove Justyne Caruana until ethics committee completes its work

Robert Abela waits on Justyne Caruana ethics breach

Prime Minister Robert Abela
Prime Minister Robert Abela
Prime Minister won't remove Justyne Caruana until ethics committee completes its work

Updated at 2:53pm with PN Leader Bernard Grech's reaction

Prime Minister Robert Abela said that he will await the final verdict from parliament's ethics committee before taking any action on Education Minister Justyne Caruana.

He said that he will not be considering any temporary measures against Caruana because the Standards Commissioner's report “is not conclusive” and the matter now rests with parliament's ethics committee.

Abela said that only once the entire process is concluded would he be considering taking steps.

On Tuesday, MPs on the ethics committee decided to publish the report compiled by Standards Commissioner George Hyzler that found Caruana breached ministerial ethics when she awarded a contract of service to her boyfriend Daniel Bogdanovic.

The damning report found that Bogdanovic was tasked to carry out a study of the sports school, a job he was unsuitable to do. Moreover, Hyzler found that the report, for which Bogdanovic was to be paid €15,000, was compiled by Paul Debattista, a consultant to the minister.

Bogdanovic's contribution was minimal and mostly carried out on instructions from Debattista.

Abela said he will not be considering interim measures against Caruana as he had done with former parliamentary secretary Rosianne Cutajar earlier this year when she was found to have breached ethics.

“The difference between this case and Rosianne Cutajar’s is that Cutajar’s case involved Yorgen Fenech,” Abela said.

Cutajar was found guilty of breaching ethics when she acted as broker for a property deal involving Yorgen Fenech, and failed to declare to parliament a €9,000 birthday present she received from the murder suspect.

'We've known about the case for over a year' - Bernard Grech 

PN Leader Bernard Grech said that Abela had failed to take action regarding Caruana, adding that the longer his inaction continued, the more complicit he was. 

"It has been four days since it became known that the Commissioner for Standards' investigation found that Justyne Caruana had violated the Code of Ethics and possibly the Criminal Code. And we've known about the case for almost a year… Despite all this, Robert Abela has neither spoken nor taken action against the Minister of Education," Grech said.