[WATCH] Robert Abela claims ‘no knowledge’ of Marsa flyover probe by EU prosecutor

The Prime Minister says if the Marsa junction project is being investigated by EPPO, he will have to ‘wait and see’ the conclusions • Beppe Fenech Adami challenges government to come clean

The Marsa Junction project is the largest road construction project done by Infrastructure Malta
The Marsa Junction project is the largest road construction project done by Infrastructure Malta

Prime Minister Robert Abela says he had “no knowledge” of an investigation by the EU prosecutor’s office over suspicions of corruption in the Marsa flyover project.

The investigation by EPPO revolves around exchanges between a Turkish billionaire businessperson, Robert Yildirim, and Daphne Caruana Galizia murder suspect, Yorgen Fenech, in which bribery is suggested.

The two were locked in a dispute over a ‘success fee’ Fenech was expecting from the company after he helped it secure the EU-funded Marsa junction project.

Yildirim and Fenech have denied any wrongdoing.

In comments to MaltaToday on Monday, the Prime Minister insisted he was never alerted of any EPPO investigation and got to learn of its existence from the news report.

Nonetheless, in the event of the Marsa flyover project being investigated, Abela said that “we have to wait and see the conclusions”.

A report in The Sunday Times of Malta revealed how Fenech was to be paid a €2 million success fee by Turkish construction firm Ayhanlar Yol Asfaltlama that won the Marsa junction tender.

However, Ayhanlar went belly up soon after being awarded the project and Yildirim stepped in to save it. Fenech expected to be paid the success fee by Yildirim, which the latter refused to pay.

The agreement between Fenech and Ayhanlar dictated that the money should be paid to Fenech’s Malta-based company New Energy Supply Ltd and his other company Wings Investments based in the United Arab Emirates. Wings is the sister company of 17 Black.

When pressed about the lack of due diligence done on the Turkish company that initially won the tender, Abela only said the project is now an essential part of the country's infrastructure.

He insisted the project was completed within the budget and time allocated for it.

Speaking in parliament on Monday evening, Opposition MP Beppe Fenech Adami challenged government to come clean on the accusations of bribery.

“Every project this government is involved in is tainted by corruption – from a playground to a major project,” Fenech Adami charged.