Owen Bonnici says presidential pardon outcome is 'unsatisfactory'

Even though Frank Sammut was not granted the presidential pardon, he divulged more information than oil trader George Farrugia, says Bonnici on Reporter.

Yesterday, Reporter discussed the Enemalta oil scandal
Yesterday, Reporter discussed the Enemalta oil scandal

One year after the Enemalta oil scandal broke out; Reporter discussed the matter with Parliamentary Secretary Owen Bonnici and PN deputy leader for party affairs Beppe Fenech Adami.

Yesterday, MediaToday Managing Editor Saviour Balzan examined the facts linked to the oil scandal and discussed the presidential pardon granted to oil trader George Farrugia to turn state's evidence.

Balzan asked whether this presidential pardon was justified and if it's providing the expected results.

"Facts demonstrate that at prima facie, the presidential pardon given to Farrugia is not giving results," Bonnici said tersely. He argued that even though Frank Sammut was not granted the presidential pardon, he divulged more information than Farrugia.

On his part, Fenech Adami argued that he couldn't understand what Bonnici intended to say and claimed that if Farrugia was not granted the presidential pardon, he would not have replied to any questions so as not to incriminate himself.

"We know that Farrugia was not complying with investigators before the pardon was granted. As a result, it's a huge mistake to say that if the pardon was not granted, everything would still have been told in any way. Undoubtedly it's not the case," PN deputy leader said.

In his fourth appearance before the Public Accounts Committee, oil trader George Farrugia denied asking for the presidential pardon granted by the previous administration saying it was "neither an offer nor a proposal."

During Monday's Reporter, it was revealed that Police officers investigating the Enemalta oil scandal attend the PAC and are scrutinising the evidence emerging from the PAC meetings.

Bonnici called on the police to examine Farrugia's computers and carry out an IT scan. The junior minister insisted that these computers are still located at Powerplan Ltd.

Appearing before the PAC, oil trader Farrugia made a number of revelations, including a €2,000 donation to Austin Gatt's political campaign and the fact that in 2010, Minister for Home Affairs Manuel Mallia was already aware of the bribery taking place on fuel procurement.

The Minister had told the press during election campaign, that he was not aware of corruption in procurement of fuel for Enemalta.

Fenech Adami said that Mallia must take political responsibility for what Farrugia told the PAC. "He should have reported corruption allegations and kick backs way back in 2010. Mallia knew and put pressure on Farrugia or even blackmailed him. Mallia fumbled and first said that he was unaware of any corruption, than Mallia said that he was bound by professional secrecy and than altering the story all over again."

Bonnici argued that it's unfair and sheer arrogance to try to embroil Mallia in this case. Mallia was the lawyer that represented Powerplan Ltd, a subsidiary of the Farrugia family company John's Group, to seek a settlement with George Farrugia after being accused by his brothers and co-shareholders of siphoning oil revenues from the company to his personal company, Aikon Ltd.

The Parliamentary Secretary responsible for Justice said that he is convinced that preceding ministers and politicians knew something with regards to bribes in the Enemalta fuel procurement. "There is a huge interest to cover up things. To date, Fenech Adami keeps on defending former minister Gatt. People are concerned by this attitude."

Fenech Adami insisted that the Opposition wants the truth to emerge during the PAC meetings. He said that the trust of the Labour government is to slur the ministers at the time.

Bonnici said that one of the first bills approved last year was the removal of prescription on acts of political corruption.

Balzan mentioned the fact that EU Commissioners have to note down any meetings they carry out in their diaries to ensure transparency and accountability Both Fenech Adami and Bonnici agreed that there's much more work to be done.

Reporter is aired live every Monday at 6.55pm on TVM. The programme is repeated on TVM2 on Monday at 10.15pm.



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SimonPn, unbelievably is defending those people who were responsible for the scandal of Ene Malta and those responsible for the massive defeat of the 9th March?
"Owen Bonnici says presidential pardon outcome is 'unsatisfactory'". Therefore?
Aktar ma nisma' lil Beppe Fenech Adami jiddefendi lil Austin Gatt, aktar inhossni konvint li l-percezzjoni ta' korruzzjoni fi hdan il-PN hija verita' sagrosanta. U k'allajrid ma ndumux ma nkunu nafu kollox, u mbghad Beppe "can kiss his political future" goodbye.