Ex-HSBC official investigated of siphoning cash from client’s accounts / Malta News Briefing – Monday 29 November 2021

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Times of Malta says that Nationalist Party leader Bernard Grech has vowed to keep fighting on, as surveys show his party continues to trail Labour badly in the polls.

MaltaToday says that a judge has prohibited the media from publishing evidence leaked from the judicial proceedings against Yorgen Fenech on pain of contempt of court, an offence punishable by imprisonment.

Newsbook says that Marsaxlokk FC have made a second attempt to develop a hostel and an old people’s homes on ODZ lands next to their football ground, though this time round, the club has reduced the footprint that its project would take.

TVM says that Shazell Vella, 19, who was in danger of dying after a traffic accident in Luqa, has been discharged from the Intensive Care Unit (ITU).

Mid-Day Briefing

Services industry leads recovery in Q3: During the third quarter of 2021, Gross Value Added (GVA) rose by 11.6% in nominal terms and by 9.6% in volume terms, when compared to the same quarter of 2020, following the drop of 10.9% registered a year earlier as a result of the pandemic.  Compared to the same quarter last service activities increased by 10.9%, industry by 2.2% and construction by 4.8%. The increase in Services was mainly driven by the transportation and storage (87.0%), accommodation and food service activities (79.5%), Wholesale and retail trade,(18.8%), and Information and communication activities (13.2%). Over the same period, household expenditure increased by 7.6% and government expenditure by 8.1%.

Ex-HSBC official investigated of siphoning cash from client’s accounts: The Times of Malta today reveals the story about an HSBC official who was sacked in recent weeks over suspicions he was siphoning off cash from his clients’ loan accounts. It has been reported that the official, an ex-manager in HSBC’s mortgages section, is suspected of withdrawing tranches of unutilised loan balances granted for reasons like home improvements. The manager drew up bogus invoices and receipts which he would then process as if they were genuine requests from clients to withdraw their unitised loans balances. The money would then be withdrawn from the bank clients’ accounts without their knowledge. It is understood that while the bank is probing the matter internally, a separate police investigation is underway.

Covid-19 Update: 95 new cases were reported on Monday, while recoveries reached 39. Active cases continued to rise, and now stand at 1136.

Morning Briefing

PM appeals again for people to get vaccinated

Prime Minister Robert Abela urged people to take the vaccine and not to drop their guard against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking on Labour Radio, Abela said Malta had managed to return to normality thanks to its vaccination programme, arguing that hundreds of lives had been saved in Malta thanks to the vaccination programme and it would be a “fundamental mistake” for people not to take their booster shot.
Abela said people given an appointment for the booster jab should take it, to help the country preserve what it has achieved in the battle against the pandemic, insisting that countries with lower vaccination rates than Malta’s were again being forced to put in place sweeping restrictions in a bid to control a surge in cases. (Times of Malta)

PN calls for Byron Camilleri’s resignation after another prison scandal

The Opposition called for Minister Byron Camilleri to shoulder political responsibility after it was revealed that prison officials were instructed to override a security feature embedded in the prison’s x-ray scanners. According to reports, high-end scanners at the prison entrances are equipped with Artificial Intelligence to record radiation limits each person is exposed to. In a post on Sunday, Peppi Azzopardi gave details on the practice, stating guards “cheat the software” into taking more scans. “Not only should they record radiation from the scanner; they should also have records of any radiation the inmate might have absorbed elsewhere, like in hospital, so they have a clear picture of how risky the scan will be,” he said. (Maltatoday)

COVID-19 Update

Malta registered 72 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, as 43 patients made a recovery. The number of active cases stands at 1,080 of which 15 are receiving treatment in hospital. A patient is in intensive care. To date, 949,337 vaccine doses have been administered thus far, 113,857 of which are booster doses.

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