A decision to block MP Rosianne Cutajar from contesting in the next general election would have to be extended to PN leader Bernard Grech, Prime Minister Robert Abela has said referencing the former’s previous tax issues.
Abela was speaking in the wake of a damning Standards Commissioner’s report into Cutajar allegedly receiving a €46,500 brokerage fee from 2019 Mdina property deal involving Yorgen Fenech, who was already known to be the owner of 17 Black but had yet been charged with the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.
Cutajar has denied receiving any kind of brokerage fee, insisting that all the money from the deal went to her associate Charlie Farrugia, but has confirmed receiving a €9,000 birthday present from Fenech.
The Standards Commissioner’s report has already concluded that Cutajar most likely received €46,500 as a brokerage fee, that she didn’t declare this income in breach of parliamentary ethics, and that she should consequently be investigated by the tax authorities. The parliamentary committee for standards in public life will now vote on what action to take.
So far Abela has kept Cutajar out of Cabinet. However, the Prime Minister said that he would wait for the outcome of a meeting between committee before taking a decision with regards to Cutajar. However, he took the opportunity to issue a jab towards his political rival, Bernard Grech, who had his own tax issues,
During last summer’s PN leadership election campaign, Grech settled an outstanding €30,000 tax bill and admitted he “could have been more careful” to avoid this situation.
In December 2020, Abela even confirmed he had reported Grech to the tax commissioner after being tipped off by someone within the PN that the Opposition leader hadn’t paid his taxes for years.
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