Gonzi refuses to publish Cabinet memo given to PN
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Gonzi refuses to publish Cabinet memo given to PN

A Cabinet memo about the transport reform will not be made public even though the Prime Minister gave a copy to Nationalist Party general secretary Paul Borg Olivier.

The Times asked for a copy of the memo after Dr Borg Olivier confirmed on a radio programme that it was given to him with the express permission of Lawrence Gonzi.

But the Office of the Prime Minister insisted The Times would not get a copy of the memo.

“The Cabinet memo is a series of documents, the majority of which are in the public domain. The documents span back to 1995 and include reports that were available for public consultation or tabled in Parliament,” a spokesman for the Prime Minister said. The same Cabinet memo was also used by Transport Minister Austin Gatt during a private meeting of the PN executive.

Speaking on radio recently, Dr Borg Olivier denied having done anything wrong by being privy to a Cabinet document that was not in the public domain.

Labour Party deputy leader Toni Abela asked to have a copy but Dr Borg Olivier said he would have to get the Prime Minister’s permission.

Asked whether The Times had a right to access this information, Data Protection Commissioner Joseph Ebejer pointed out that the bulk of the Freedom of Information Act was not yet in force.

He also noted that the law did not provide for disclosure in the case of Cabinet papers and other exempt documents. However, the law did not prevent public authorities from publishing or granting access to documents (including exempt documents) in other ways.

“There are no further comments from this end,” he said.

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