Government mum on whether Farrugia should resign EU post

Vince Farrugia. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

Vince Farrugia. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

The Government will not comment on whether Vince Farrugia should resign his post on a European body for civil society after a court witness alleged he told her to lie to the police.

Mr Farrugia, director-general of the Chamber for Small and Medium Enterprises – GRTU, was nominated to the European Economic and Social Committee by the Government in 2010, a decision that at the time was criticised by the Malta Employers’ Association.

It was “inopportune” to comment at this stage, a spokesman for the Prime Minister’s office said when asked whether Mr Farrugia’s position was tenable.

“The case you are referring to is sub judice,” the spokesman said, pointing out that nominations to the EU body were recommended by the Malta Council for Economic and Social Development.

However, MCESD chairman Sonny Portelli said the body was simply “a postman” in this affair and appointments were the Government’s responsibility.

He explained that the Government had approached the MCESD with a list of vacancies for EU posts and, as chairman, he had asked member organisations to suggest names. “We then forward these to the Prime Minister but the MCESD has nothing to do with who gets appointed,” he explained.

The compromising testimony was heard in the case filed by the police against former GRTU member Sandro Chetcuti, who is accused of assaulting Mr Farrugia at the GRTU’s office in Valletta two years ago.

The court heard Sylvia Gauci, a GRTU council member, admit lying to the police under oath when saying that she saw Mr Chetcuti standing over Mr Farrugia shouting “I will kill you”.

Ms Gauci said she did not witness the assault and was told what to say by Mr Farrugia. A text message exhibited in court sent by Mr Farrugia seems to corroborate Ms Gauci’s testimony.

Other GRTU officials implicated in the alleged attempt to exaggerate the facts to make the assault seem worse have refused to comment. GRTU president Paul Abela insisted he had done nothing wrong throughout his presid-ency to warrant a resignation.

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