• Tue. Nov 29th, 2022

The anti-corruption commission launches an investigation into the Marsa overflight project

ByChad J. Johnson

Oct 12, 2022
Photo: Miguela Xuereb

Tista’ taqra bil-
Malta.

The Permanent Anti-Corruption Commission has launched an investigation into the Marsa overflight scandal at the request of opposition MP Karol Aquilina.

In a statement, Aquilina said he testified before the commission on Wednesday morning, during which he presented the handy details of the alleged corruption involved in the 40 million euro project.

Last week, the opposition MP asked the commission headed by retired judge Lawrence Quintano to investigate the project, while asking for a separate investigation by the National Audit Office.

The allegations regarding the planned flyby, which is also being investigated by the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO), revolve around exchanges between Turkish billionaire Robert Yildirim and the suspect in the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, Yorgen Fenech.

Reports of alleged corruption came to the attention of Maltese police following the seizure of Fenech’s mobile phone in November 2019.

PN wants investigation into corruption in Marsa flyover project

Data on Fenech’s phone revealed Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder suspect had been promised 2 million euros in ‘success fees’, half of which was to be funneled to a secret offshore company linked to 17 Black .

Moreover, Ayhanlar, the Turkish contractor represented by Fenech, won the 2018 tender for the construction of the airbridge, despite a difficult financial situation.

Despite the serious allegations, Prime Minister Robert Abela ignored the concerns, insisting the project was a success.

During her testimony, Aquilina submitted a copy of an email sent by Yildirim to Fenech on January 22, 2019.

In his email, Yildirim asked Fenech: “What will you say in court? Bribe someone but no payment,” as he warned the Tumas tycoon to “behave and keep his anger in check.”

The Turkish businessman added: “We didn’t say we weren’t paying you. We have to renegotiate all the articles and conditions.

Aquilina explained that the exchange took place within the framework of the award of the tender which was initially won by the Turkish company called Ayhanlar Yol Asfaltlama and which was later awarded to the company Shining Star Infrastructure & Construction Co. Limited in which Yildirim is involved.

The MP added that the subject of the email referred to a contract involving the companies New Energy Supply Limited and the company Wings Investments, which is registered in the United Arab Emirates. These two companies belong to Fenech, he added.

Abela Ignoring Marsa Flyover Corruption Investigation

“Thanks to this contract, Yorgen Fenech would earn €2,000,000 from the company that won the tender for the construction of the Marsa flyover project,” said Aquilina.

He added that half of this amount was to go to New Energy Supply Limited and the other half to a company called Wings Investments, registered in the United Arab Emirates.

Wings Investments is linked to the company 17 Black which is also registered in the United Arab Emirates.

17 Black was one of two companies listed as target customers of Panamanian companies owned by then-disgraced minister Konrad Mizzi and then-disgraced OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri.

Leaked emails showed that 17 black people would pay up to 2 million euros a year to Panamanian companies set up by Mizzi and Schembri days after the Labor Party was elected to government in 2013. They both denied any action objectionable.

Aquiulna encouraged anyone with more information to come forward and forward it to the Permanent Anti-Corruption Commission “to uncover the acts of corruption that have been committed in the Marsa overflight project.”

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