Updated - PM stands by Austin Gatt statements, reiterates fight against corruption

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Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi said this morning that he stood by minister Austin Gatt’s declaration that he never spoke to George Farrugia on Enemalta oil procurement.

Replying to questions at a press conference (on education) this morning, Dr Gonzi said he did not wish to comment on this case as it was in the hands of the police.

Mr Farrugia is one of the men at the centre of a criminal investigation into alleged kickbacks taken in the procurement of oil.

The Cabinet had been presented with advice by the Attorney General and the Police Commissioner on granting a pardon to Mr Farrugia, and the conditions attached to it, and that advice had been followed.

The case would now follow its normal course of investigation.

Dr Gonzi said he had made it clear that the government would adopt a zero tolerance attitude to corruption.

He had promised that the government would use everything at its disposal to fight all forms of corruption. He had kept to his word. Through the pardon, the investigators now had the best means to reveal everything that could have taken place.

Asked about the e-mails published by The Sunday Times yesterday bearing the words ‘Aust’ and ‘A.G’, Dr Gonzi did not comment, saying he did not wish to influence anyone and would let investigations take their course.

He did not say whether he had spoken to Dr Gatt after the e-mails were revealed.

However, he recommended that people should not jump to conclusions.

Political responsibility would be based on the outcome of the investigation, he said.




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