Malta’s government has issued a reply to the “incorrect statements” currently being made about Aldo Cutajar, the former Consul General in Shanghai who was yesterday 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.
Among the clarifications, the government said Cutajar had never actually been fired from the public service, and in fact “worked within a number of departments under a number of ministries”.
Cutajar, who the government explained first entered the public service all the way back in 1989, was charged for misappropriation of funds while serving as Senior Principal on the Malta Arts and Culture Council in 2004.
After pleading guilty to the accusations and being handed a two-year jail sentence suspended for four years, Cutajar was also given a perpetual interdiction on 2nd February 2005. However, just over two months later, the interdiction had been removed by the Maigstrate’s Court… a decision later signed off by then-Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi.
According to the government’s statement issued earlier this evening, The Public Service Commission had investigated Cutajar’s case in terms of the rules of the public service. Then, on 16th June 2005, it had recommended that the interdiction imposed on Cutajar should be removed, as per the Courts’ earlier declaration. The Commission’s recommendation also stated that Cutajar should lose the pay kept during his suspension and be given a warning.
On 1st July of that same year, the statement continues, then-Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi had agreed and signed off on the Commission’s recommendation. Subsequently, Cutajar had gone on to work in a number of government ministries.
“This means that it is not true that Aldo Cutajar was ever sacked from working with the government,” the statement points out. “Indeed, it is not true either that Aldo Cutajar was ever reinstated with the governemnt, and certainly not that he was allowed back with the government after 2013.”
As for Cutajar’s work overseas, the government said that he was sent by the Foreign Affairs Ministry (where he worked at the time) to the Maltese Embassy in Beijing on 17th August 2016. The following year, on 1st March 2018, the Ministry sent Cutajar to the Shanghai Consulate, where he stayed till 7th September 2019.
Concluding its statement, the government reiterated the lack of connection between any of the mentioned circumstances and Aldo Cutajar’s Mario, who is currently Malta’s Civil Service Chief.
“The government is convinced that the independent institutions will be carrying out their work for justice to be done with anyone who broke the law in this case, like in any other cases,” the statement finishes.