Commissioner’s findings on Petrus gift indicate breach of law or Code of Ethics

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

The Commissioner of Standards in Public Life has concluded an investigation on murder suspect Yorgen Fenech’s Petrus wine gift to former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.

The report has been sent to the relevant parliamentary for consideration after the investigation triggered article 22.

Article 22 is triggered whenever the Commissioner is of the opinion that the allegation forming the subject matter of the investigation appears prima facie to have been contrary to law or as prima facie in breach of any statutory or any ethical duty as provided under this or any other law.

This article can also be triggered in case where the Commissioner is of the opinion that in the allegation, a discretionary power has been exercised in a manner that constitutes abuse of power.

In its letter the office of the Standards Commissioner asked the Parliamentary Committee to consider the report under articles 27 and 28 of the Standards in Public Life Act (Chapter 570 of the laws of Malta).

The Commissioner sends his reports to the Committee under article 22, under article 27, the Committee shall decide whether to adopt the conclusions and any recommendations contained in the report. The article also provides for cases when the report is not adopted, and in such cases the Committee shall give its reasons. Article 28 deals with the sanctions when a breach has been found.

The investigation had been requested by former Alternattiva Demokratika chairman and independent candidate Prof. Arnold Cassola, following the news that Fenech had gifted expensive wine to Muscat.

The murder suspect was one of Muscat’s guests of honour at a party held at the Prime Minister’s official residence in February last year. He had gifted him Petrus wine. Fenech had also given the former Prime Minister two expensive watches worth thousands.

Cassola had argued that despite the Standards Commissioner had come to a conclusion that Muscat did not breach the ethical code when organising his birthday party at Girgenti, during the same party, Muscat received three bottles of Petrus wine valued at €5,800 from Fenech.

The commissioner wrote to Cassola informing him that the investigation had been concluded and the report was before the relevant parliamentary committee for consideration.

In a statement, the independent candidate urged the committee to publish the report by the Standards Commissioner. He noted that as a complainant he did not have a right to know the contents of the report and its recommendations and that it was the parliamentary committee on Standards in Public Life that decided when and if to release the contents of the report.

Standing Committee for Standards in Public Life to convene urgently on Friday

The Standing Committee for Standards in Public Life will convene tomorrow at 2pm. This newsroom is informed that Committee will convene urgently following the report by the Standards Commissioner George Hyzler.

The agenda which has already been published on the Parliament’s website, includes the approval of minutes followed by a discussion on the report of the investigation by the Commissioner for Standards (Case K/019).