Busuttil demands explanation on why Farrugia brothers were not arraigned

Opposition leader says government must explain why Police have not yet arraigned the Farrugia brothers

PN leader Simon Busuttil.
PN leader Simon Busuttil.

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil called on the government to explain why the brothers of pardoned oil trader George Farrugia have not yet been arraigned by the Police.

Charges against the Farrugia brothers – the whistleblowers whose court action against oil trader George Farrugia provided a cache of incriminating documents – were issued by the Police Commissioner’s predecessor.

“Someone has to explain why George Farrugia’s brothers have not yet been arraigned when Inspector Angelo Gafa’ said the police had wanted to arraign them,” Busuttil said.

The PN leader said Gafa had subsequently been moved to the Malta Security Service (MSS) while the Farrugia brothers’ former lawyer – Manuel Mallia – had become Home Affairs Minister.

Busuttil’s comments follow an interview which Farrugia – the man who organised a bribery system for top Enemalta officials – gave to the Malta Independent.

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In the one-page interview, Farrugia said he was not granted a pardon because his wife, Cathy Farrugia, knew Lawrence Gonzi: “Yes, my wife knew Lawrence Gonzi but I assure you that they were not on familiar terms.  They were simply work colleagues. The police needed to give me the pardon. I would have still obtained the pardon if my wife had not known Dr Gonzi. That had nothing to do with it.”

Farrugia also said that there was pressure for his pardon to be revoked to get his brothers “out of trouble”:

“If my pardon is revoked I would be charged in court. That would jeopardize the case against my brothers because it is stated by law that as co-accused I would not be able to testify against them. Also, the statements I have released to the police would not be admissible as evidence. The cases against them could possibly not even start. Similarly, they would not be able to testify against me, which would also jeopardise any case against me.”

The charges pending against the Farrugia brothers, Salvu, Antonio, Gaetano and Raymond, have been issued and the case was appointed for February.

They will be charged after they allegedly admitted knowledge of the fact their brother was paying bribes to officials to secure oil contracts from Enemalta for Powerplan Ltd, the family business he once managed.

The brothers were arrested in March 2013, shortly before the general election, but never arraigned.

Gafa had told the public accounts committee that the briberies were paid in cash and he drafted the charges to arraign four of the Farrugia brothers. The brothers would have been arraigned on the basis that their signatures were on a series of pay self cheques which Farrugia used to cash.

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