“I apologise for not acting differently” – Jason Azzopardi

Says that the gift did not in any way colour or influence his position.

Jason Azzopardi

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

MP Jason Azzopardi in a post on his Facebook page thanked the Commissioner for Standards in Public Life for his speedy decision and apologised for not paying himself for a three day stay at the Hilton in Tel Aviv in 2017.

“Yes, I should have acted differently back then, and I apologise for not doing so but even my strongest critics have to concede that the Tel Aviv incident did not influence one iota the fulfilment of my duty as an MP.”

He reminded readers that he is “one of the politicians who to this day vociferously condemns the corrupt Electrogas deal” (Tumas Group is one of the shareholders in Electrogas). Azzopardi added that “day in day out I risk my life because of my constant struggle against the cabal that killed Daphne Caruana Galizia.”

“I will not beat about the bush”

Azzopardi in his post said that he was not going to beat about the bush or try to hide legal arguments.

“When the cashier of the Hilton in Tel Aviv told me on my checking out in 2017 that the room charges were already taken care from the Malta side, I should have insisted on paying the full bill and not just pay for taxes and extras.”

He said that at that “particularly difficult moment in my private life I felt that I would have been churlish to refuse the offer made by Mr Ray Fenech (Chair of Tumas Group) and that the buying of a silver gift for Ray Fenech would have been a clear enough sign on my part that no obligation existed. Surely he did not need any modest silverware from me, but it was my way of coming ‘even’”.

The MP noted that the Commissioner for Standards in Public Life to whom he submitted himself last Sunday just stated in his decision that even if a gift is reciprocated by another gift, the MP in question would still be bound to follow the Code of Ethics of the Members of the House of Representatives and report the gift.

Azzopardi thanked the Commissioner for his speedy decision and clarification and apologized.

He added that in March 2017 the Tumas Group did not have any direct interest in any legislation before the House. The Electrogas deal had been sealed a long time before and there were no plans for legislations that could have impacted directly the Tumas Group or its subsidiaries.

Not indebted to him in anyway

Azzopardi said that during the time he spent in Cabine or at any point in time, Mr Ray Fenech, whom Azzopardi asked to help him find a hotel in Tel Aviv,  “never asked me for any favour and I am sure he was very conscious that I would not have felt in anyway indebted to him because of his gift not could I proffer any favours as I had been out of government for many years.”

He said that by the  time he went to Tel Aviv in 2017 “it was publicly known that from day one in 2013 I was one of the greatest opponents of the Electrogas deal, in which Tumas  Group are shareholders.”

He noted that he criticized the deal many times, both in Parliament and elsewhere and that the gift did not in anyway colour or influence his position.

Azzopardi described himself as “one of the politicians who to this day vociferously condemn the corrupt Electrogas deal, and day in day out risk my life because of my constant struggle against the cabal that killed Daphne Caruana Galizia. The same cabal which assassinated her is the same one trying to kill me politically. They will fail.”

At the end of his post he once more admitted that he should have acted differently back then, and for the second time apologised for not doing.

He concluded by saying that  “even my strongest critics have to concede that the Tel Aviv incident did not influence one iota the fulfilment of my duty as an MP. Rest assured that I will continue to do so.”