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MALTATODAY 4 September 2022

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7 NEWS maltatoday | SUNDAY • 4 SEPTEMBER 2022 Call for Expression of Interest in the Fertiliser Voucher Scheme The Agriculture and Rural Payments Agency (ARPA), within the Ministry for Agriculture, Fisheries and Animal Rights (MAFA), is hereby issuing a call for expression of interest (EOI) for the participation of retail outlets engaged in the supply of fertilisers to the local agricultural sector in a Fertiliser Voucher Scheme that will be financed through National Funds. The agricultural sector has been facing serious difficulties for a number of months as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic due to the rise in shipping costs. Furthermore, Russia's invasion of Ukraine has created additional market disturbance and impacted severely farmers' costs of production as both Rus- sia and Ukraine are main suppliers of fertilisers. Due to the ongoing conflict, supply is very low whilst demand has increased. This has resulted in a sharp increase in fertiliser prices. In order to mitigate the increase in prices, the Maltese Government through the Agriculture and Rural Payments Agency, will be launching a Scheme granting aid to farmers through a system of vouchers intended to subsidise the purchase of fertilisers, thereby reducing the financial burden on the agriculture sector. Participating retail outlets are invited to submit their confirmation to accept vouchers for the purchase of fertilisers by farmers. By expressing interest in participating in the Scheme, the retail outlet will be confirming: · Readiness to accept vouchers that will be presented by farmers during 2022; · Willingness to use any software applications indicated by the Agency in order to verify the vouchers presented by farmers; and · Presenting the vouchers together with the relevant fiscal payment docu- mentation to the Agency within specified timeframes. Participation in the scheme will be on a voluntary basis. Kindly submit your interest by sending an email on by not later than 16 th September 2022. In case of any queries you may contact the Agency via email sent to or via telephone on 2292 6148. KARL AZZOPARDI THE police's investigation in- to odometer fraud by used car importers is still ongoing three months after MaltaToday broke the story about the racket. Hundreds of consum- ers were sold sec- ond-hand cars im- ported from Japan with tampered mileage gauges, in a racket in- volving at least two car dealer- ships. Cars bought from Japanese bidding mar- kets on the cheap because of their high mileage, would be sold in Malta with dashboard gauges showing low mileage. An exercise carried out by Mal- taToday on a sample of 18 cars flagged by multiple industry sources, showed discrepancies ranging between 30,000km and 130,000km between the original mileage and the one registered in Malta. At least two car dealers used the services of a garage in San Gwann to tamper with the odometer and then falsify documentation issued by the Japan Export Ve- hicle Inspection Centre (JEVIC), duping consumers into believing the second-hand car they are be- ing sold is of low mileage. "Kindly note that Po- lice investigations are still on going, therefore at this stage it wouldn't be prudent to divulge further i n f o r m a t i o n , " a police spokes- person told Malt- aToday this week. Earlier this week, in- dependent candidate Arnold Cassola also revealed a letter sent to him by SBT Japan, a leading global exporter of used cars, an- nouncing they are no longer do- ing business with Rokku and Tal- Qasab auto dealers. Cassola made that information public on Wednesday and circu- lated an email exchange he had with SBT sales manager Adeel Khan. In the email, Khan told him that he was aware of the odometer tampering scandal and consid- ered the behaviour of the two car dealers to be "a very foul practice to follow". JEVIC also told MaltaToday earlier this year that it is work- ing with regulators to minimise fraudulent activity: "JEVIC have looked into this issue, noting that our system holds the orig- inal Japan inspection data and that fraudulent activity allegedly occurred after the vehicles had arrived in Malta." Consumer protection minis- ter Julia Farrugia Portelli also said the majority of complaints regarding the racket have been resolved. "We helped more than 80% of all cases that have come forward to receive adequate compensation. I am also aware that there is a last attempt ongo- ing for the remaining percentage to be resolved." Many times, the form of com- pensation is either cash or else a car equivalent in value to the car consumers should have been giv- en to start with, she said. But none of these filed com- plaints have been taken to tribu- nal for resolution "Up until now, I am informed that there were no cases that have been taken to tribunal, and that is why we need to ensure that this process is respected. I also understand that the compe- tent authorities, such as the po- lice, are conducting the necessary investigations, as such a case also merits to be investigated from that aspect," she had said in Au- gust. Three months on, police still investigating odometer fraud

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