Justice Minister Edward Zammit Lewis would occasionally turn to businessman Yorgen Fenech for jobs for his supporters, with the latest offer coming as recently as September 2019, according to media reports.
Fenech was arrested in November 2019 and charged with having masterminded the plot to assassinate Daphne Caruana Galizia. He denies the charges.
According a report in the Times of Malta, exchanges between the minister and the murder suspect indicate that Zammit Lewis would occasionally be offered or ask Fenech for jobs for his supporters.
In the most recent exchange from September 2019, Fenech offered to give jobs to supporters of Zammit Lewis shortly after he had returned to Cabinet as European Affairs Minister.
The paper reported that the minister would ask Fenech for help with jobs for his supporters from as early as 2014, back when he was still Tourism Minister.
Zammit Lewis has been under fire in recent weeks over his relationship with Fenech and messages exchanged between the two.
Earlier this month, the Nationalist Party filed an urgent no-confidence motion in Zammit Lewis after messages he had sent Fenech, mocking attempts by the Opposition to have 17 Black investigated, were revealed in the press.
Zammit Lewis was also revealed to have referred to Labour supporters as fools (Ġaħan) in another exchange with Fenech. The two are understood to have exchanged over 700 messages in the months between January and September 2019.
Responding to the Times’ questions, Zammit Lewis said that as a “politician and representative of the people” he often tried to help constituents find employment “irrespective of whether in the public or private sector”. He insisted it was a normal practice among politicians.
Last year Lovin Malta revealed that Zammit Lewis and former Prime Minister had holidayed at one of Fenech’s hotels in France in 2014. Both have failed to prove that they paid for the trip themselves, despite pledging to do so.
Despite calls for his resignation, Prime Minister Robert Abela has so far stood by Zammit Lewis.
Do you think Zammit Lewis should resign?