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MaltaToday 10 November 2021 MIDWEEK

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3 maltatoday | WEDNESDAY • 10 NOVEMBER 2021 NEWS CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 He also recommended that his findings be passed on to the Tax Commissioner for further investigation. However, it's the parliament's ethics committee, chaired by Speaker Anġlu Farrugia, that has a final say on reports from the standards chief. During the meeting, Farrugia confirmed that there was no mention of the €9,000 donation or of any brokerage income in Cutajar's declaration of assets for 2019 and 2020. Once this was verified, the four MPs in the committee took their vote. Op- position MPs Therese Comodini Cachia and Karol Aquilina were first in voting to accept the report, saying they felt du- ty-bound to do so. Government MP Glenn Bedingfield said there was nothing more to discuss with respect to this report, and agreed with ac- cepting the conclusions. Edward Zammit Lewis, also a govern- ment MP, said he was approving the re- port but specified that he doesn't want to exclude Cutajar from defending herself in light of the recommendations. "I believe that Rosianne Cutajar paid a high political price," he said. Tax investigations ongoing Earlier in the meeting, tax commissioner Marvin Gaerty testified before the com- mittee to review the report allegations. However, he specified that there are lim- its at law on what he can and cannot di- vulge to the committee. "Every investigation is kept secret, no details can be given. Especially when in- vestigations are ongoing," he prefaced to the Committee. Gaerty was accompanied by a lawyer, who explained that there are two avenues in tax procedure, namely the administra- tive and the criminal. "If it's a criminal procedure, you can't even speak with the client," the lawyer specified. Using a hypothetical situation, Gaerty explained that the responsibility to de- clare income falls on the person who re- ceived it. "If you decide to pass €50,000 to another person then it's not taxable on that other person, as it would have been given as a donation." He added that donation is an appropri- ation of income. Once someone receives their income, they can do whatever they want with it. However, the income must always be taxed. "If a person gives a service, and that service is for consideration, then you're obliged to declare it. If you don't that's omission, tax evasion." Gaerty said that tax was paid on the bro- kerage income mentioned in the report. The question is whether the tax was col- lected in the manner it was supposed to. "The other person can declare it as much as they want, but it doesn't remove the obligation on the original person to declare that income," he said. He added that it often benefits people to split their income between two people due to the high tax ceiling. "It's almost worse to have someone collect it all in- stead." Rosianne Cutajar must resign - PN After the committee meeting, the Na- tionalist Party demanded that Rosianne Cutajar step down as a member of parlia- ment. "The Nationalist Party expects Rosianne Cutajar to resign immediately as a Mem- ber of Parliament and in the event that she does not do so, Prime Minister Rob- ert Abela will see to it that she is expelled from the Labor Party's Parliamentary Group," the party's statement reads. The PN recalled that there are three on- going investigations concerning Cutajar. These include investigations by the Tax Compliance Unit, by the police, and by Council of Europe. Cutajar has admitted to being ques- tioned by police. During the ethics probe, she informed the Commissioner that she was handing him copies of messages ex- changed between her and Yorgen Fenech. She said these copies were handed to her by the police under disclosure. She is also facing investigation from the Committee on Rules of Procedure, Im- munities and Institutional Affairs with- in the Council of Europe. However, the committee said it will wait for the out- come of the local parliamentary probe before deciding her fate. 'I believe Rosianne Cutajar paid a high political price' - Zammit Lewis 35 new COVID-19 cases were registered on Tuesday, figures published by the Health Ministry show. No new deaths were registered in the last 24-hours, as such the total number of deaths stands at 462. Active cases stand at 406 after 10 recoveries were registered. There are currently 13 coronavi- rus patients being cared for at Ma- ter Dei Hospital, of which four are in the ITU. Until yesterday, 892,243 vaccine doses were administered, of which 62,037 were booster doses. Active cases rise to 400, 35 new cases registered In a letter to Speaker Anglu Farrugia, Charles Farrugia, known as it-Tikka, (pictured with Cutajar) said he would be filing an adjustment to his income tax returns to declare payments he received from a €3.1 million property deal involving Yorgen Fenech.

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