Former secretary confirms receiving ‘tips’ and ‘donations’ from the Montebellos

Finance Minister Tonio Fenech’s former private secretary confirms that ‘tips’ from contractors were received from contractors Jeffrey and Peter Montebello to waiver tax fines.

Noel Borg Hedley (left), Minister Tonio Fenech's (right) former private secretary
Noel Borg Hedley (left), Minister Tonio Fenech's (right) former private secretary

Finance Minister Tonio Fenech's former private secretary confirmed in court that he received "tips" from contractors Jeffrey and Peter Montebello, who allegedly rewarded him for intervening with the Tax Department to waive fines they owed on the sale of under-declared properties.

Noel Borg Hedley, 67, of Gzira - who last year was handed a permanent interdiction and conditionally discharged for three years after admitting to bribery - took the witness stand against his alleged 'tippers' and confirmed with Magistrate Audrey Demicoli that he received cheques and cash from the Montebellos as "donations" for activities connected to Fenech's political campaign, but was later also "tipped" for his interventions with governmental departments which handled property tax matters. The Montebellos are denying the charges.

Borg Hedley confirmed everything he told to the police to the court in a detailed statement he released when arrested in 2010.

He admitted to receiving bribes from the contractors in 2008, when he formed part of Fenech's secretariat.

Fenech has categorically denied any knowledge of or connection to the case. The case has, however, still proven to be thorny for the finance minister, not least because the contractors are the same ones he had hired to carry out renovation works on his house in Balzan. 

The job had ended in controversy after a subcontractor - Charles Magro of Rainbow Projects Ltd - alleged that JPM Brothers had told him they were doing the renovation on the minister's residence as "a favour" in return for the minister's alleged help to enable JPM Brothers sell the Jerma Palace Hotel - an allegation Fenech has categorically denied.

While the Jerma Palace remained unsold and a huge liability for the Montebellos, another failed project by JPM Brothers was the Mistra Heights complex, which also led to Bawag Bank calling in a loan for €42 million.

The former Galaxy Hotel site in Sliema - which had to be turned into a residential complex - was left uncompleted, and led to investors to take over the building and develop it after buying out JPM Brothers. 

More in National
avatar
Maureen Attard
Ghandu ragun Franco Debono jinsisti ghar-rizenji Dr Gonzi. Kien ikun ahjar li sar hekk milli ntwera vot ta' sfiducja fik. Ghalija billi gejtu 34 indaqs u estensjoni int tlift il-maggoranza. Jekk ma tibzax insisti ma min ghandu jirrizenja u hemm nibdew nemnuk.
avatar
Mr Hedley stated that he was tipped both by cash and cheques, so I dont see why the prosecutors have to ask for Mr Hedley's comfirmation, as it is only too easy if they had asked the bank to produce the signed cheques presented for payment since they keep a record.
avatar
Look up, and you see things flying Between the day and the night; Swallows with spools of dark thread sewing the shadows together. A circle swoop, and a quick parabola under the bridge arches Where light pushes through; A sudden turning upon itself of a thing in the air. A dip to the water. And you think: "The swallows are flying so late!" Swallows? Dark air-life looping Yet missing the pure loop ... A twitch, a twitter, an elastic shudder in flight And serrated wings against the sky, Like a glove, a black glove thrown up at the light, And falling back. Never swallows! Bats!
avatar
Tonio dan cuc iehor malti ? possibli ma kontx taf b`dan ?...Bhal ma jghidu l-inglizi "THIS IS THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG"
avatar
Of equal importance is to know who were the public officers Borg Hedley was in league with in the Inland Revenue Department to waive fines the Montebello brothers owed on the sale of under-declared properties. I know of people who inadvertently undeclared a few hundred Euro and were fined and charged interest almost as much as the amount they had under-declared. So in this matter there's probably an element of corruption of public officers. What has the OPM's disciplinary office to say about this? And what has the Police to say about this? Is an investigation on these lines being carried out?
avatar
If this happened in the UK and other 'normal' European countries (Sicily excluded) the Minister responsible to collect public monies would have long resigned! Not a PN minister no he wan't!
avatar
Zack Depasquale
Dr Gonzi, jekk irid ikun kreddibli, flok il-bierah qaghad jipprova jfakkar x'sar tletin sena ilu,ahjar ta aktar dettalji fuq kazijiet bhal dan u ohrajn li saru fl-ahhar erbgha snin meta hu kien Priministru.
avatar
"Noel Borg Hedley, 67, of Gzira - who last year was handed a permanent interdiction and conditionally discharged for three years after admitting to bribery - took the witness stand against his alleged 'tippers' and confirmed with Magistrate Audrey Demicoli that he received cheques and cash from the Montebellos as "donations" for activities connected to Fenech's political campaign,......." Resignations are the order of the day, it will not be an excuse that the said minister did not know where the money come from it was in his interest to see that all sources of donations to his electoral campaign were know. In the eyesof the law ignorance is no excuse especially ignorance self imposed. Tonio it is time once more to resign.
avatar
U hadd ma huwa accountable politikament. U l-Prim Ministru ma jiftahx halqu. Issa jmur jaghmel vot ta' fiducja fil-Kazin tal-P.N. B'Kara. Kemm kellu ragun Franco Debono.
avatar
U mbghad tiskanta kif kien hawn min ixxortlistja li Fenech bhala kandidat ghal kap tal-PN!!!!!