Marsa Junction: Cassola hands Gafà ‘first-hand evidence’ of grave illegalities

Cassola: strong evidence points to involvement of at least two well-known personalities, divulging of insider information, irregular and opaque behind-the-scenes negotiations, and suspicion of illegal ‘commissions’

The Marsa Junction project
The Marsa Junction project

Independent candidate Arnold Cassola has presented police commissioner Angelo Gafà with what he said was first-hand evidence on grave illegalities in relation to the massive Marsa Junction roads project, and has asked for an urgent investigation into the matter.

“Anonymous whistleblowers have provided me with primary sources that clearly demonstrate that blatant illegalities went on with regards to the multi-million major project in our country,” Cassola said.

Cassola said there was strong evidence pointing to the involvement of at least two well-known personalities, together with other lesser known persons; concerns regarding the divulging of insider information; irregular and opaque behind-the-scenes negotiations; fronts involved in the tendering process; and the strong suspicion of the creaming off of illegal ‘commissions’ and inexplicable bank payments.

“In a country like ours, where it seems that the moral compass has been totally lost, it is imperative that the police conduct serious investigations in a speedy way, not only to ensure that the authors of all misdemeanours are brought to book but also to show that proper ethical behaviour and real justice have not been banished from our country,” Cassola said.

“This case is an extremely serious one which can rock the foundations of the nation. I have informed Commissioner Gafà that if I am not called in to explain the contents of my missive by the end of this month, I will resort to further legal action.”

The major infrastructure project is already facing scrutiny by EU prosecutors over suspicions of potential corruption. 

Times of Malta had revealed that Yorgen Fenech, who is under arrest as he awaits trial for journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder, was promised €2 million in success fees by Turkish construction firm Ayhanlar Yol Asfaltlama, in exchange for using his contacts to help the failing company secure the Marsa tender. 

Fenech’s role was to act as a “consultant”, introducing Ayhanlar to “key stakeholders”, and seeing their bid through the tendering process.

Fenech’s €2 million success fee was to be split between two of his companies: New Energy Supply Limited, a Maltese company used to hold his shares in the Electrogas power station; and Wings Investments, the sister company of Fenech’s 17 Black registered in the United Arab Emirates.

Ayhanlar was formally awarded the contract in July 2018, but financial problems forced the company to file for debt restructuring in Turkey. As a result, works on the government’s flagship infrastructure project ground to a halt.

The authorities decided to sign off on the contract after it was quietly “reassigned” from Ayhanlar to a company owned by Turkish billionaire Robert Yildirim, despite Yildirim not being in the road construction business.

Chats in the hands of police investigators show Yildirim refused to pay the fees expected by Yorgen Fenech, arguing that Fenech’s agreement for the multi-million-euro cut on the Marsa contract was made with Ayhanlar, who had failed to deliver the project.

An e-mail sent by Yildirim to Fenech on January 22, 2019 hints at potential foul play in the way Ayhanlar won the Marsa contract.

“We can be in the front pages of newspapers in Malta. Apparently you might like it. What will you tell the court? Bribing someone but no payment. We didn’t say we don’t pay you. We need to renegotiate all terms and conditions. That’s all! It’s up to you!”, Yildirim said in response to the threat of legal action.