No PAC hearing for Yorgen Fenech until conclusion of criminal cases / Malta News Briefing – Tuesday 23 May 2023

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Updated 1515 – PAC suspends Yorgen Fenech hearings: In response to a request made by the defense lawyers, the Public Accounts Committee has decided to temporarily halt the hearing involving Yorgen Fenech, who is alleged to be the mastermind behind the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. The lawyers have requested that Fenech only testify once the criminal proceedings against him have concluded Prior to being sworn in, Fenech’s defense lawyer, Charles Mercieca, informed the committee that his client would not be taking an oath to testify. Mercieca stated that the National Audit Office (NAO) report being discussed in the hearing pertained to the alleged motive behind the criminal charges faced by Fenech.

16 green projects to enhance town life – PM

In the coming months, work will begin on 16 environmental projects in a number of Maltese towns and villages which between them will translate into 80,000 square metres of green open spaces for the public. Addressing a news conference in Mosta, Prime Minister Robert Abela said that these projects will give new life to the community, with 110,000 people set to have access to these spaces a stone’s throw away from home, place of work or study. (TVM)

Updated 1240 – Mid-Day Briefing

Yorgen Fenech to testify in Parliament amid high security: Yorgen Fenech, the man accused of ordering the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, will be transported from prison to parliament in a heavily armored American SUV on Tuesday. He is expected to testify in the parliamentary investigation on the the Electrogas power station contract before the Public Accounts Committee. Stringent security measures have been devised, including emergency exit plans. Prison officers have inspected the parliament building and formulated a comprehensive security plan. Fenech’s appearance at the committee hearing will mark his first public appearance outside of court or prison since his arrest in November 2019. The hearing is scheduled to commence at 2pm. (Times of Malta)

PL, PN say no donations exceeded €7,000: In 2020, both the Labour and Nationalist parties reported no donations that required disclosure, except for a single contribution made by Bernard Grech to his own party. This information is based on the recently published donation reports filed with the Electoral Commission. The reports pertain to 2020 but were only made public now. Bernard Grech donated €14,973 to the PN, which consisted of unused funds from his campaign for party leadership in 2020. This amount had already been disclosed in an audit of campaign funds conducted by Grech at the time. Aside from Grech’s donation, the PN did not receive any other contributions that exceeded the transparency limit of €7,000, which legally requires public disclosure. Even the Labour Party did not receive a single donation exceeding €7,000. (Maltatoday)

Morning Briefing

Court confirms jail term for drunk driver who killed pedestrian

The Court has confirmed a three-year effective jail term for a negligent driver who killed a pedestrian when he drove onto a pavement at 100km/h while drunk almost five years ago. Mr Justice Neville Camilleri ruled on Monday that the court saw no reason why it should alter the original judgment handed down by the Magistrate’s Court in June 2021 which jailed Michael Caruana Turner, 24, for three years and banned him from driving for another two years. The first court had found that the accused was out drinking in Paceville before the incident. He had a beer and six shots of tequila. (Times of Malta)

President urges Maltese in US to preserve traditions, unity

During his visit to New York, USA, President George Vella extended his engagement with the Maltese community by paying a visit to the Maltese Centre in Astoria. This volunteer-managed center was established in 1979 with the aim of providing a gathering place for Maltese individuals in New York, allowing them to connect, converse in Maltese, and preserve their cultural traditions. Vella encouraged the Maltese community in New York to uphold their cherished traditions and maintain their unity. He highlighted the center’s initial role in providing support and refuge to Maltese immigrants who arrived in New York and neighboring areas. At present, the center has evolved to not only nurture the Maltese identity and heritage but also promote the Maltese nationality and culture, which includes the provision of Maltese language instruction. (TVM)

Malta backs Eco Design Regulation
Economy Minister Silvio Schembri, conveyed Malta’s general backing for the compromise text of the Regulation on Eco Design Requirements for Sustainable Products. However, he emphasized the importance of legislation that is grounded in evidence and includes a thorough evaluation of its effects, particularly on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The objective of the proposal is to establish sustainable products as the standard within the European Union. This would be achieved by addressing product design and implementing new requirements that enhance durability, reliability, reusability, upgradeability, reparability, ease of maintenance, recyclability, as well as energy and resource efficiency. (Maltatoday)

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