Former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat will not face any punishment despite being found in breach of ministerial ethics by accepting expensive gifts from Yorgen Fenech, the businessman and main suspect of the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.
This is because the Parliamentary Committee for Standards found that Muscat’s letter issued in response to the report constituted an acceptable form of apology.
Yorgen Fenech had gifted the then prime minster bottles of Petrus wine, a value totalling around €5,800, at a party held at the official summer residence in Girgenti, Siggiewi.
Standards Commissioner George Hyzler flagged Muscat’s acceptance of Fenech’s gift as a breach of ministerial code of ethics, because of possible conflict of interest between a businessman involved in government projects, like Electrogas, of which Fenech was a main shareholder.
After the commisioner’s conclusion, the case was taken by the Parliamentary Committee for Standards, who agreed to seek Muscat’s reaction before taking a course of action. Muscat published a letter, refusing their request for an in-person meeting, citing he had nothing to add to the report.
The committee decided that the letter constituted a form of apology as allowed in the Standards in Public Life Act.
The Standards Commissioner was asked to make a presentation in the committee’s next meeting to divulge proposed revisions to the Ministerial Code of Ethics in light of this case.