Prime Min­is­ter Joseph Mus­cat takes wit­ness stand in case against Gaf­farena

Malta Independent - - NEWS - Gabriel Schem­bri

Prime Min­is­ter Joseph Mus­cat yes­ter­day took the wit­ness stand in the case the govern­ment filed against Marco Gaf­ferna over the prop­erty trans­fer in Old Mint Street. Dr Mus­cat was ac­com­pa­nied by the At­tor­ney Gen­eral, who is ap­pear­ing for the PM.

Quizzed by lawyer Keith Bon­nici over his in­ten­tions in fil­ing this case, the Prime Min­is­ter said that he was not in­volved in the ac­tual sign­ing of con­tracts and land con­ces­sions. He said that this falls un­der the re­spon­si­bil­ity of the Par­lia­men­tary Sec­re­tary for Lands.

Dr Bon­nici kept ask­ing who the per­son ul­ti­mately re­spon­si­ble was, once the case in con­cluded, but Judge Anna Felice kept stop­ping the lawyer, telling him that the hear­ing to­day was not a plat­form to dis­cuss the coun­try’s laws.

“Who would the Min­is­ter re­spon­si­ble be?” the lawyer asked, while the Prime Min­is­ter in­sisted that through his role, he only gives gen­eral di­rec­tion and that the po­lit­i­cal re­spon­si­bil­ity will fall un­der a per­son cho­sen by him who, in turn re­sponds to the OPM.

Dr Mus­cat said that he filed the case as a Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment. He claimed he came to know of this case through the me­dia.

“I don’t doubt the po­lit­i­cal gen­uine­ness of Michael Fal­zon,” he added.

Dr Bon­nici then asked against whom the case was filed? But the Judge said that th­ese de­tails are al­ready avail­able.

“But he is still not re­ply­ing to the ques­tion, of who will carry the re­spon­si­bil­ity once the case is con­cluded,” the lawyer in­sisted.

The Prime Min­is­ter said that the po­lit­i­cal re­spon­si­bil­ity had al­ready been shoul­dered by Dr Michael Fal­zon, who at the time served as the Par­lia­men­tary Sec­re­tary for Lands.

“I de­cided to file the case for two rea­sons; be­cause the val­u­a­tion of the land in Old Mint Street was be­ing ques­tioned and be­cause the Au­di­tor Gen­eral had flagged cer­tain mis­giv­ings.”

Dr Mus­cat was the last wit­ness to ap­pear in the case against Mr Gaf­farena and his wife.

The case had orig­i­nally been filed by Dr Mus­cat against Marco Gaf­farena and his wife for the re­vo­ca­tion of the trans­fer of prop­erty.

The Gaf­fare­nas had ac­quired a one-half un­di­vided share of a palazzo in Old Mint Street which was then ex­pro­pri­ated by the govern­ment. The cou­ple was com­pen­sated to the tune of €3.4 mil­lion.

The case had cost the cabi­net seat of Dr Michael Fal­zon af­ter it emerged that Mr Gaf­farena was deal­ing with a mem­ber of his (Fal­zon’s) sec­re­tariat.

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