Villa rental to Russian passport applicants was declared to taxman – PM Abela / Malta News Briefing – Tuesday 22 March 2022

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Updated 1730 – NewsPortal Review

The Times of Malta reached out to former Labour leader Alfred Sant, now MEP who insisted that the present government’s ability to sway elections due to its power of incumbency is “much less potent” than it used to be.

Maltatoday reports that Robert Abela said that rental income he received from Russian passport applicants residing at his Żejtun villa was declared to the taxman and tax paid accordingly.

TVM leads with a story that two policemen injured during arrest of two youths in Birkirkara. The men were found in possession of drugs in circumstances that indicated they were ready for trafficking.

Newsbook covers a sit-in protest by independent candidate on the tenth and eleventh district Arnold Cassola. He is staging a sit in protest at the Counting Hall in Naxxar. In a brief statement on Tuesday, Cassola said the Electoral Commission refused to give him access to an area where dubious votes are examined.

The Malta Independent reports that The Malta Film Commission has refused a Freedom of Information request in order to ascertain how much money was spent on the extravagant Malta Film Awards. In the reason provided for the FOI refusal, the Commission said that the documents are still being compiled – the same justification that those in charge of the film sector have used when questioned by journalists about the event in past weeks.

Mid-Day Briefing

Zammit Tabona files constitutional case against need for booster: Hotelier Michael Zammit Tabona has filed a constitutional case against the Superintendent of Public Health over COVID-19 travel rules that require residents who have not taken a booster shot to quarantine upon their return to Malta. Zammit Tabona, who operates hotels, leisure cruising companies and other interests in the sector, claimed that the rules breach his fundamental rights. In his statement, the entrepreneur noted how he took two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine but has not taken a booster shot, saying laboratory tests show that he has a high level of immunity against the coronavirus. In the constitutional cases, he laments that current travel rules were seriously prejudicing his work, which requires him to frequently travel overseas.

Cheques are tool against rising inflation – Abela: PL leader Robert Abela has defended a decision to distribute tax cuts and COVID relief cheques just two weeks before the 26 March election. During an interview on the public broadcaster, Abela said the cheques were necessary to support families rising prices from supply shortages and the spill-over effects of the war in Ukraine. He described the financial allocation as a safety net against inflation, while also promising to keep energy prices stable despite the international rise in gas prices following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Grech says larger PN defeat would have meant Daphne Caruana Galizia died in vain: PN leader Bernard Grech claimed that journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia would have died in vain if Labour increases its majority. In an interview on the Times of Malta Grech said that “if you’re fed up, you can’t just stay there and complain. You must vote to narrow the majority or elect PN to government”. Grech was non-committal on his party’s prospects and on whether he intended to stay on as party leader following a significant defeat, recalling that he took over the party when the polls were showing a gap of 70,000 between the PN and the PL.

Covid-19 Update: 333 new cases were reported on Tuesday, while 149 persons recovered. Active cases stand at 2723.

Morning Briefing

Chemical Tanker towed out to Anchor Bay

The Chem P chemical tanker, which spent much of the weekend adrift on crashing waves amid gale-force winds, has been successfully towed out to Anchor Bay in Mellieħa, where it is expected to remain indefinitely. Harbour Master David Bugeja, who has been coordinating the rescue operation, said that the team overseeing the situation identified a weather window on Monday morning where it was safe to start towing the vessel out. Reports of an out-of-control tanker began on Saturday morning when footage of the Chem P showed it drifting dangerously close to the Baħar iċ-Ċagħaq coastline. (Times of Malta)

PN wants prison vote to be repeated after alleged shortcomings

The PN wants the voting process in prison for the general election to be cancelled and repeated again after ineligible prisoners were allowed to vote.
In a letter to the Electoral Commission on Monday, PN secretary-general Michael Piccinino said the voting process at the Corradino Correctional Facility was “vitiated” by “serious shortcomings”. Piccinino said that the Electoral Commission’s list of 180 prisoners who were eligible to vote on Saturday, included “tens” of inmates who were legally disqualified from voting. He accused the commission of failing to take action to stop these people from voting despite the PN having flagged at least one ineligible name four days before the voting took place. (Maltatoday)

Gozo central to PL manifesto – Abela
The Labour leader reiterated that Gozo is central to its party manifesto saying that it contains 350 proposals which are directly aimed at Gozo and 300 references to the sister island. He also highlighted that if re-elected the PL would spend €162 million from EU funds on the sister island. During the event, Prime Minister Robert Abela also said that the Nationalist Party has been urging voters not to cast their vote on Saturday, hinting that the PN is hoping for a low voter turnout to maximise its chances. (Newsbook)

Abela is a serial tax evader – Grech

PL Leader Robert Abela is a serial tax Evader, as the thousands that he made from his property in Zejtun have not been declared in his tax declarations, Opposition Leader Bernard Grech said on Monday. Speaking in Gzira, Grech said Abela is still refusing to publish present his tax declaration to the tax commissioner, even though Grech invited him to so more than 24 hours ago. The PN leader accused Abela of being selfish, as he spent around a week trying to decide whether to stop the selling of Maltese passports to Russians. He added that this shows that the PL leader chooses his pockets over the nations’ security. (Independent)

Covid-19 Update: 251 new coronavirus cases were reported on Monday, while 66 recovered. Active cases have now gone up to 2539. Two men died overnight, taking the death tally to 624.

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