Three men sent to prison on major contraband fraud / Malta News Briefing – Tuesday 9 May 2023

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Two-thirds of SMEs call for Malta to redefine its strategy: Results of the Malta Chamber of Small and Medium Sized businesses (SME)’s barometer for the first quarter of 2023 show that 65% of respondents believe “Malta needs to redefine its strategy and direction going forward.” Key findings include the recognition of a volatile international situation, which is leading investors to say that they’re ‘not sure’ about their investment appetites for the coming year, a worry about inflation and the impacts this is having on the day to day running of their businesses, and the government’s important role to play in shifting the economic trajectory of the country.

Three men sent to prison on major contraband fraud: After being found guilty of cheating the government in a significant cigarette smuggling operation, a haulier, a Malta Freeport security officer, a customs officer, and a freeport employee were each fined €6.6 million and sentenced to prison on Tuesday.  A container containing more than 10 million cigarettes was stolen, emptied, and then put back where it had been at the freeport in the centre of the case.

PN files complaint for Police Commissioner to investigate those involved in hospitals contract: The Leader of the Opposition and of the Nationalist Party, Bernard Grech, together with Nationalist Party MP Adrian Delia, filed an official complaint at the Police General Headquarters in Floriana. The complaint is requesting Police Commissioner Angelo Gafà to investigate the court conclusions, as well as other official documents and media reports regarding the concession agreement of the three hospitals to a foreign companies. The Nationalist Party said that the Commissioner needs to investigate those whose behaviour influenced persons involved in what it described as a fraudulent deal.

Morning Briefing

Driver accused of killing two men in car crash was under the influence of drugs

A driver charged over a crash that killed two men in Mosta on Saturday was under the influence of drugs at the time, a court has heard. Inspector Godwin Scerri said that Karl Vella Petroni, a logistics manager from Manikata, was arrested after a police officer at the scene smelt alcohol on his breath. The 41-year-old, who works in the entertainment industry, denied involuntary homicide, involuntary damage to third-party property, driving under the influence, careless, reckless and dangerous driving, driving without third-party insurance cover, breaching traffic regulations by crossing the white line and recidivism when he was arraigned on Monday afternoon. (Times of Malta)

Gender parity to be extended to local councils

A gender parity mechanism to ensure greater balance between the sexes in local councils is being suggested as part of a planned reform in local government. The proposal is included in the National Strategic Vision For Local Government 2023-2030, published on Monday. The mechanism will be similar to the one adopted in the general election and will be introduced by next year when local elections are due across Malta and Gozo. Goverment is also proposing that 16 and 17-year-olds, who can already stand for elections, be also able to be elected as mayors. (Maltatoday)

Sustainable economic development is priority for Goverment, PM tells Chamber

PM Robert Abela said that the Government will keep pushing for changes which will lead to sustainable economic development. During a meeting at Castille, with the new leadership of the Chamber of Commerce, he PM remarked that the economy should be based on skills, research and innovation in order not only to create jobs, but careers of high quality. He said that education will remain the key to strengthening the workplace and for tomorrow’s students and workers to be guided towards sectors which offer them good careers. He also spoke about the new priorities of the country and emphasised the switch to digitalisation and environmentally friendly measures. (TVM)

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