PN calls for corruption investigation, NAO probe into Marsa flyover project

The Nationalist Party has asked the anti-corruption commission to investigate allegations that the multi-million euro Marsa flyover project was tainted by corruption • PN also asks for National Audit Office probe

(From left) PN MPs Graham Bencini, Karol Aquilina and Darren Carabott
(From left) PN MPs Graham Bencini, Karol Aquilina and Darren Carabott

The Nationalist Party has asked the Permanent Commission Against Corruption to investigate bribery claims linked to the Marsa flyover project.

PN MPs Karol Aquilina, Graham Bencini and Darren Carabott said on Friday that the Opposition was also requesting a separate investigation of the Marsa junction project by the National Audit Office.

In a letter to retired judge Lawrence Quintano, chair of the Permanent Commission Against Corruption, Aquilina flagged the allegations brought to light in a story first published by The Sunday Times of Malta.

The allegations concerning the flyover project, which is also being probed by the EU prosecutor’s office (EPPO), revolve around exchanges between 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 took over the project from another Turkish company, Ayhanlar Yol Asfaltlama, that ran into financial difficulties soon after it was awarded the Marsa tender by the Maltese government.

Fenech had originally been involved with Aynhanlar and had a written agreement to receive a €2 million success fee if the company won the tender. The money had to be paid into the accounts of two companies Fenech owns - New Energy, which is a shareholder in Electrogas, and 17 Black in Dubai.

Aquilina asked the commission to investigate the claims that public officials may have been bribed by people who may have had an interest in Aynhalar being awarded the tender.

In the separate request to the NAO, the PN MPs questioned whether any due diligence was carried out on Ayhanlar given it was financially unsound at the time of being awarded the tender. They also questioned whether any due diligence was carried out on Shining Star Infrastructure and Construction company, owned by Yildirim, that took over the project from Ayhanlar.

They also asked the NAO to probe the tendering process and whether government adopted the principles of good governance when the contract was reassigned to Shining Star.

READ ALSO: Robert Abela claims ‘no knowledge’ of Marsa flyover probe by EU prosecutor