European prosecutor requests more information in Marsa Junction corruption probe

Arnold Cassola, who presented police with new cache of chats and emails suggesting bribes and corruption, summoned to FCID to give more information

The Marsa Junction project
The Marsa Junction project

The European Public Prosecutor is actively investigating the Marsa Junction flyover project on original allegations on illegal ‘commissions’ requested by Tumas magnate Yorgen Fenech.

But the EPPO has also requested Malta’s financial crimes investigation department (FCID) to request more information from independent politician Arnold Cassola, who supplied yet more internal chats and emails related to the allegations first revealed by The Times.

Cassola said he had been summoned to the FCID, where police officers informed him that EPPO had requested answers to specific questions in relation to the documentation he had presented to the Commissioner of Police.

“I was also asked if I had anything new to add. Something which I did, and then I confirmed my statement by signing it,” Cassola said.

Cassola says he has presented Commissioner of Police Angelo Gafà with first-hand evidence on grave illegalities in relation to the massive Marsa Junction roads project, namely primary sources “that clearly demonstrate that blatant illegalities went on with regards to the multi-million major project in our country.”

Specifically, there is evidence 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 texts, which Cassola said were sent in early 2019, have Fenech asking “x’tixtieq minn dik?” (what would you like from that?) to which Azzopardi replies “circa 45% of 11m”.

Reacting to the claims, Fredrick Azzopardi said the contract was awarded in 2018, and the text messages were sent in 2019. “This timeline rubbishes any claim that my correspondence with Mr Fenech was related to the “negotiations for the project”, “the tendering process” or “insider information”,” he said.

He insisted the Marsa Junction contract was awarded through a public call for tenders by Transport Malta, before he was transferred from Enemalta to fill the role of CEO at Infrastructure Malta. Azzopardi also said the 45% refers to "technical matters related to the [Electrogas] project, including the contract’s applicable pre-financing payments and related bank guarantees, amounting to circa €7 million, as well as logistical issues about the shipment of materials, which needed to be concluded before the main works could proceed”.

But Cassola rebutted, saying “45% of 11M do not amount to circa €7 million, but to €4.95 million.” 

“In a WhatsApp conversation on 9 January 2019, 11.13 a.m., Yorgen Fenech asks Fredrick Azzopardi: "Dawk l-ewwel wiehed meta"? "Taf"?. Fredrick Azzopardi immediately answers at 11.14 a.m.: "Ghadda last week ta 2018. 7.4",” the independent candidate said.