The man who set up the Dom Mintoff Foundation as homage to the former Prime Minister has been cleared of fraud when he issued cheques on behalf of a band club when the bank account was closed.

Magistrate Carol Peralta cleared Josef Grech, 34, from Marsascala, after ruling that the defendant was not the only person on the committee of the Lourdes Philharmonic Society of Paola and he was not the treasurer so could have never known that the bank account had been closed.

Mr Grech had been charged with defrauding Go Plc of more than €5,500 when he purchased mobile phones and several mobile phone top-up cards between December 2010 and January 2011.

Magistrate Peralta accepted the arguments of defence counsel Patrick Valentino that Mr Grech was not the only person on the band club's committee and neither was he the treasurer. He was simply given the cheque book and told to purchase the items to be used in a fund-raising lottery. He therefore cleared him of all the charges brought against him.

Police Inspector Maurice Curmi prosecuted.

Last April, Mr Grech had been sentenced to 20 months in jail after a court found him and a co-accused, Omar Caruana, guilty of defrauding musicians who they used to engage on behalf of the Lourdes Philharmonic Society. The crime took place in February 2010 and the preceding months.

Magistrate Antonio Vella heard how the men, who sat on the club’s committee, engaged musicians to play for the band club and issued cheques from an account that had been closed.

The court heard how Mr Caruana was the treasurer and also fell for Mr Grech’s tricks. However, the court noted how he had the responsibility, as the sole signatory on these cheques, that the funds were available.

Mr Caruana was jailed for a year while Mr Grech had eight months added to the total jail time after bringing into effect an eight-month suspended jail term over a different case decided in May 2010. An appeal has been filed and the case is still pending.

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