Malta’s government conspired to frame a director at the tax department and have him arrested in order to force his resignation from the crucial department, MP Jason Azzopardi has claimed.
Speaking in parliament during an adjournment speech, Azzopardi claimed that shortly after the Labour Party’s electoral win in 2013, newly-appointed head of the Public Service Mario Cutajar demanded an unnamed tax official’s resignation.
Azzopardi said that the official was a respectable figure in the tax department, who was unscrupulous and incorruptible.
Sometime in April 2013, Cutajar asked the official to resign quietly. He refused given that he still had 18 months on his current contract.
Two days later, Azzopardi said, Cutajar went again with the request, this time threatening the official that if he failed to comply, criminal action would be taken against him.
Cutajar allegedly refused to put the request in writing.
On 24th April 2013, the official was arrested on the orders of newly-appointed Police Commissioner Peter Paul Zammit on what Azzopardi described as “bogus” charges.
At the time, current Police Commissioner Angelo Gafa led the case, acquiring the evidence related to the case. The official was kept overnight and even subject to a “humiliating strip search”, Azzopardi said.
Gafa, Azzopardi said, was clear that the official was innocent. According to Azzopardi, Gafa asked to be transferred to Malta’s Security Services a few days later.
The official has since suffered psychological trauma because of the humiliating experience, which Azzopardi said amounted to torture.
Following his arrest, Azzopardi said the official began feeling intense pressure from Castille to resign, which he eventually did.
A file documenting the arrest and the detention log was discovered. However, it is unknown where the documents are, Azzopardi said.
The official’s lawyer at the time was current Prime Minister Robert Abela.
Azzopardi said that Abela knows the case and the issues regarding Mario Cutajar well, demanding that he take action.
He claimed that failure to do so would prove that Abela is a continuation of the issues that plagued his predecessor, Joseph Muscat.
Cutajar’s brother, Aldo, has been arrested and charged with money laundering after police discovered €500,000 in cash during a raid on his home and a further $400,000 in a Dubai bank account.
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