Driving test fraud: Labour ministers, aides flagged names to be passed by Transport Malta

Times investigation reveals WhatsApp chats detailing systematic manner in which ministers and ‘customer care’ officials would select Labour voters and potential voters to be passed from driving exam

WhatsApp chats reveal that former transport minister Ian Borg forwarded names of test candidates to be “taken care of” .
WhatsApp chats reveal that former transport minister Ian Borg forwarded names of test candidates to be “taken care of” .

WhatsApp chats to a Transport Malta officer in charge of driving examinations have revealed that former transport minister Ian Borg forwarded names of test candidates that had to be “taken care of” to ensure they passed their exam.

A Times of Malta investigation shows how a Transport Malta racket helped candidates obtain a driving licence.

The WhatsApp chats obtained show Borg, his canvasser Jesmond Zammit, and his ministry personnel would pile pressure on Transport Malta’s director of licensing Clint Mansueto to “help” candidates at different stages of the licensing process.

Mansueto and two low-level Transport Malta clerks, Philip Edrick Zammit and Raul Antonio Pace, now face corruption and trading in influence in connection with the racket. They deny the charges.

Hundreds of candidates were given to Mansueto to have their tests fast-tracked and even for “help” to secure a driving licence, and advising the candidates not to allow their driving instructor to be present in the car during the practical exam, to facilitate the scheme. 

Over 11 government and Transport Malta officials showed knowledge of the scheme, such as current PBS chairman Mark Sammut, who as a former TM personnel, pushed Mansueto with requests about specific candidates. 

A spokesman for Prime Minister Robert Abela dismissed the revelations as “regurgitated” when contacted by the Times.

The chats show government officials would simply flag the names of candidates to Mansueto. Mansueto would then seek to assign those candidates a “friendly” driving examiner or move them up the queue for a driving test.

The people who forwarded the names to the TM officials include:

·      Robert Abela’s personal assistant Rachel Debono, who at the time was the personal assistant to Transport Malta’s chairman, told Mansueto that selected candidates had been told not to have their “learner” accompany them on the test.

·      Former transport minister Ian Borg himself told Mansueto the barman of a Dingli establishment was waiting to be given a test date by Transport Malta. ”Your friend is my friend… :)”, Mansueto replied. Borg replied 20 minutes later with a thumbs-up emoji. Two weeks later, Mansueto informed the minister that the barman “graduated this morning”. ”He must be wearing a toga then,” Borg quipped in a November 2019 message. 

·      Borg provided the details of a Pulse member, from Labour’s political student wing. ”He has his test on Wednesday and is saying they are not being fair with him. He has already been twice before. Maybe they can see that they are fair with him. Thanks,” Borg wrote. 

·      Days before Mansueto’s arrest in October 2021, Borg forwarded him a list of 22 asylum seekers and foreign nationals, all employed by TEC Limited or iStage, the Labour Party’s events suppliers.

·      In another case, Borg recommended helping Nationalist MP Beppe Fenech Adami’s son. “This is Fenech Adami’s son. [Mobile number, name redacted]. So we give him a new [test] date please,” Borg said in an October 2020 message. Fenech Adami told The Times he had no recollection of bringing up these matters with Borg, other than “critically telling him that applications for driving tests at Malta Transport were taking months to be processed. I have never asked Minister Borg for any preferential treatment for my son and, as explained, he was surely never given such treatment. I never asked minister Borg to pass any details of my son to Clint Mansueto. I do not know and have never spoken to Clint Mansueto.”

Other favoured candidates include the wife of former minster Chris Cardona (March 2019 message), recommendations from former Labour MP Silvio Grixti, who is implicated in the benefits fraud racket, the son of former Labour MP Gavin Gulia, the son of former Planning Authority chairman Johann Buttigieg, relatives of OPM customer care officials, potential voters in ministers’ districts, Gozo Minister Clint Camilleri’s chief of staff, and other ministerial staff.


Ian Borg dismissed any claims of wrongdoing. ”I hear out people’s complaints and act on them. Everyone speaks to me, from youths to a priest, commercial companies from Żebbuġ to Nadur - as well as Beppe Fenech Adami. As a minister, I always forwarded these messages to the authority,” Borg said. 

Borg said he always instructed Transport Malta to help people within the parameters of the law, insisting his messages with Mansueto always made it clear that everything should be done legally. 

Borg even thanked his customer care team for always offering an excellent service when he was the minister responsible for transport. “We need to keep listening to people and working on their complaints, in the transport sector and other sectors,” Borg said. 

Borg’s canvasser and advisor Jesmond Zammit alone, within a seven-month period in 2021, passed on the names of over 60 people to Mansueto – passing on a photo of the candidate’s learner permit, which showed the time and date of the person’s test.