Emanuel Cuschieri rallies troops for former roads boss in missive targeting Cassola and Aquilina

Former One Radio propagandist Emanuel Cuschieri follows Joseph Muscat’s cue in defence of former Infrastructure Malta boss Fredrick Azzopardi over police charges for illegal roadworks

Emanuel Cuschieri's One radio programme was stopped by the Labour Party
Emanuel Cuschieri's One radio programme was stopped by the Labour Party

Emanuel Cuschieri is rallying the troops in defence of former roads agency boss Fredrick Azzopardi, who faces criminal charges over illegal road works carried out on his watch.

Cuschieri has said that he will be present outside the law courts on Tuesday to show solidarity with Azzopardi and is urging Labourites to join him.

The former One Radio propagandist has taken to Facebook to air his views after the Labour Party stopped his radio programme. Cuschieri appears to have taken his cue from former prime minister Joseph Muscat, who on Sunday came out all guns blazing in Azzopardi’s defence.

READ ALSO: Muscat slams charges against Fredrick Azzopardi - ‘This mistaken decision carries consequences’

Cuschieri posted his message alongside photos of Arnold Cassola and Repubblika’s Robert Aquilina, accusing them of putting pressure on the authorities to have Labourites “crucified”.

Cassola had filed a police complaint on the illegal road works, which has only been followed up now.

“Next Tuesday morning, I am going to be in Valletta, in front of the law courts… in a civil manner I will show solidarity with Fredrick Azzopardi. He is being charged because he safeguarded people’s safety… this is unacceptable… I will not leave Fredrick on his own because people like these in the photo [Arnold Cassola and Robert Aquilina] put pressure so that Labourites are crucified,” Cuschieri wrote in one of his several missives on the Azzopardi saga.

Fredrick Azzopardi is being charged over road works he had ordered in a rural road at Wied Qirda in the outskirts of Żebbuġ more than two years ago. The works were carried out in an ecologically sensitive valley and upon Azzopardi’s instructions, Infrastructure Malta employees had ignored a stop notice issued by the environment authority and continued working.

Azzopardi has denied wrongdoing, insisting the passageway running alongside the valley bed was in danger of collapse and required emergency intervention.

The contractor was last month fined for carrying out the illegal works.

READ ALSO: Court sentence shows Fredrick Azzopardi ordered contractor to continue Wied Qirda works

Azzopardi was appointed CEO of Enemalta shortly after the 2013 general election, at a time when electricity production was shifted to natural gas and a multi-million euro contract was awarded to Electrogas to build and operate the gas infrastructure and power station. The Electrogas deal is mired in controversy with one of the shareholders, Yorgen Fenech, facing charges of masterminding the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Azzopardi also oversaw the part-privatisation of Enemalta with the involvement of Chinese state company Shanghai Electric Power and the controversial investment in a wind power project in Montenegro that is subject of a corruption probe. The revelation that Yorgen Fenech's secretive Dubai company 17 Black had pocketed money from the deal cost former energy minister Konrad Mizzi his place in the Labour Party.

Subsequently, in 2018, Azzopardi was made CEO of Infrastructure Malta, a new agency tasked with doing up the roads. Malta's roadwork network was overhauled but Azzopardi's decisive style intermingled with his brash attitude that saw him clash with residents, farmers and environmentalists concerned over the destruction caused by some of the roadworks.

Azzopardi left IM earlier this year just after the election to join the private sector.

READ ALSO: End of the road for Infrastructure Malta boss Fredrick Azzopardi