PN’s Ethics Commission recommends reprimand for Azzopardi

Regarding his free stay in Tel Aviv.

What a difference a Stay Makes
Photo by Miguela Xuereb

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

The Nationalist Party’s (PN) Ethics Commission has unanimously agreed to recommend to the Administrative Council to reprimand Jason Azzopardi, making it clear that acceptance of any form of gifts in beach of the Code of Ethics and rules of transparency and disclosure will not be tolerated.

Azzopardi had asked the Commission to investigate him in relation to a story published in Illum. In 2017, Azzopardi stayed at a hotel in Tel Aviv for a wedding, for which the bill was paid by Tumas Group’s George Fenech. Azzopardi stated that he had asked Fenech to help him find a hotel in Tel Aviv because hotels were full. When he went to pay his bill, he was told that the room had been paid for. Azzopardi then bought Fenech a gift as thanks.

The Ethics Committee stated that it has chosen to recommend a reprimand for Azzopardi, as opposed to suspension or expulsion. This is because the Commission “has not doubt that the gift…did not influence Hon Azzopardi in the fulfillment of his role”. It stated that it is saying this without condoning the breach of ethics.

The Commission added that in an environment where there is a pressing need to clean up politics, it is imperative that there be coherence between politicians’ words and actions.

The Commissioner for Standards in Public Life George Hyzler had also said 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 then apologised, saying that he was unaware of the ethical breach, and thanked the Commissioner for clarifying the matter.

Azzopardi says he was unaware of ethical breach
“I apologise for not acting differently” – Jason Azzopardi

The full report issued by the Ethics Committee can be found here: Ethics Commission Report.