Speaker confirms that Tancred Tabone must face PAC grilling

Speaker Anglu Farrugia confirms previous ruling on Public Accounts Committee’s right to grill Tancred Tabone over Enemalta oil scandal.

Tancred Tabone
Tancred Tabone

Former Enemalta chairman Tancred Tabone cannot shun the Public Accounts Committee hearings on the Enemalta oil scandal, the Speaker of the House Anglu Farrugia ruled tonight.

Last week, MPs sitting on the Public Accounts Committee interim chair Jason Azzopardi sought the Speaker's ruling after the lawyers of former Enemalta chairman requested their client does not appear before the committee.

Tabone's lawyers said that their client would excersise his right to silence in order not incriminate himself.

However, pointing out that the PAC is not a tribunal or court but its functions are clearly stipulated in the parliamentary guidelines, Farrugia explained that Tabone has a right not to answer but he should still be subject to questioning by members of the Public Accounts Committee

Confirming a previous ruling, Farrugia said that Tabone "must answer the questions posed to him by the committee," adding that if Tabone felt that he would nbe incriminating himself by answering a particular question, he could refuse to answer.

"However, memebers of the committee have the right to ask for the Speaker's guidance if they feel that the questions posed were not incriminating," Farrugia said.

Tabone, 61 of Sliema and former MOBC chief, stands accused of bribery and money laundering in connection with the oil procurement scandal.

This is the second time that Tabone's lawyer, Gianella de Marco, has made such a request. According to PAC interim chairman Jason Azzopardi, Tabone's lawyer wrote to the committee explaining that, due to the ongoing court case, Tabone could incriminate himself by questions that the members of the PAC might ask.

According to Standing Orders, every person who is asked to appear before the committee must do so. However, the witness is not compelled to answer questions that might incriminate him.

This is the second time that Tabone's lawyer has written to the PAC requesting her client should not appear before the parliamentary committee due to the ongoing court case.

In December, the PAC had agreed to postpone Tabone's sitting as his lawyer had been abroad at the time. The members had however warned him that they would still insist he appears before the PAC as every requested individual had the obligation to do so.

What does he have to hide? Were there others, perhaps from the politcial side, who benefitted from all of this? Who is really being protected?
Are we, the Maltese people so stupid as to not realize what is going on? These politicians are making a mockery of our intelligence and one way or another they manage to find a way how to get out of any wrongdoing they committed when in office, or when in part in charge of a Maltese Government Agency. When did the government give us the chance not to answer because we might incriminate ourselves? Is that why George Farrugia was given the Presidential Pardon? What a bunch of banana peels they try to feed us. The sad part is that we sit there and accept everything they throw at us unless you are rich and have the money to engage an expensive lawyer. Why can't we hold ex politicians accountable for their sins? The Arriva catastrophe is another one of those instances.