[WATCH] PM insists government should not intervene on Marsa Junction project investigations

The police should be left to their investigations, Robert Abela said

Government will let police lead its own investigations into alleged corruption in the Marsa Junction project tender, Prime Minister Robert Abela said on Monday.

When asked whether the allegations were of concern to him, and whether he will take initiative on investigations into the case, Abela said that it’s up to the police to carry out their own investigations without intrusion from the government.

“The case is in the hands of the police, and the police needs to be left to their own investigations,” he said.

On Sunday, independent politician Arnold Cassola passed on a cache of Whatsapp chats between Tumas magnate Yorgen Fenech and former Infrastructure Malta boss Fredrick Azzopardi to the Commissioner of Police.

Cassola said that the chats, which include emails between Fenech and the Turkish companies that were awarded the junction tender, were passed on to him by anonymous whistleblowers.

He added that the cache includes first-hand evidence on the illegalities in the Marsa Junction tender. Among this is alleged proof that the company belonging to Turkish billionaire Robert Yildirim was already angling to take over the roadworks weeks in advance before the tender was formally awarded to another Turkish company, Ayhanlar Yol Asfaltlama.

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

Times of Malta had revealed that Fenech was promised €2 million in success fees by Ayhanlar in exchange for using his contacts to help the company secure the Marsa tender.

The consultancy fee was to be paid for introducing Ayhanlar to “key stakeholders”, and seeing their bid through the tendering process. The fee would 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, a sister company to his offshore company 17 Black, registered in the United Arab Emirates.

Ayhanlar was formally awarded the contract in July 2018, but suddenly 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.

Then, the contract was quietly “reassigned” from Ayhanlar to a company owned by Robert Yildirim, despite Yildirim not being in the road construction business.