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MALTATODAY 2 October 2022

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2 maltatoday | SUNDAY • 2 OCTOBER 2022 NEWS Thank you... for having bought this newspaper The good news is that we're not raising the price of our newspaper We know times are still hard, but we have pledged to keep giving our readers quality news they deserve, without making you pay more for it. So thank you, for making it your MaltaToday Support your favourite newspaper with a special offer on online PDF subscriptions. Visit or scan the QR code Subscriptions can be done online on Same-day delivery at €1 for orders up to 5 newspapers per address. Subscribe from €1.15 a week Same-day print delivery from Miller Distributors mt LUKE VELLA STANDARDS Commissioner George Hyzler concluded that former PN MP David Thake breached both the Standards in Public Life Act and the Code of Ethics of Members of Parlia- ment over his companies' failure to settled un- paid VAT and for not declaring his shareholding in a company in the declaration of assets. The stories had appeard in The Times and MaltaToday. In January 2022 PN MP David Thake resigned from parliament after it was revealed that his telecommunications company, Vanilla Tele- coms had a pending VAT bill of €270,000 with the Inland Revenue Department and that his other company Maltashopper Ltd owed over €500,000 in VAT. "I am guilty of having made an administrative mistake as a company director – more than that, I'm not guilty of anything… I was clear and transparent with all the facts when the press ran this story… honesty is my hallmark," Thake had said. But it was Thake himself that wrote to the Standards Commissioner, asking him to inves- tigate the matter. In his report on the case, Hyzler noted that Thake said his unpaid VAT dues were down to a lack of liquidity in both his companies. Thake said that in the case of Vanilla Telecoms, many clients were no longer operating, with the issue escalating during the pandemic. But he said he had no clear indication of how much VAT was due as the last statement he had received from the IRD was in 2016 and that he was never asked to settle the amount. Thake said that in the case of Maltashopper Ltd, the unpaid VAT was accumulated in be- tween March 2020 and August 2021, and that it was covered by the COVID-19 Fiscal Assistance scheme. But Hyzler also noted in his report that Thake had failed to mention his 50% shareholding in Davmar Holdings Ltd, in his 2020 declaration of assets as MP. "Whatever the reason, the fact remains that Thake failed to observe his obliga- tions and declare the company in his declaration of assets as a member of parliament, breaching the Code of Ethics of Members of Parliament," Hyzler stated. He added that this was a direct breach of his ethical obligations as an MP. Hyzler said that MPs should lead by exam- ple and follow the law when it comes to tax payments. He stated although it is a common practice for enterprises to fall behind on tax payments, and that it was tolerated by the au- thorities, an MP had to set a good example. Hyzler noted that Thake admitted "grave short- comings" when failing to submit the annual re- turns for Maltashopper Ltd for 10 years straight. "It is clear that deficiencies that go back to 2012 were only being addressed this year in light of the publicity there were given. The shortcom- ings of Thake in the management of his compa- nies are in violation of the law, so much so that he himself initiated the process of in order to reach an agreement with tax authorities for the settlement of the due taxes," Hyzler stated. The Standards Commissioner acknowledged that Thake's resignation from Parliament and his decision to not contest the March general election, had to be taken in consideration. "The resignation of Thake from an MP represents a public recognition for his shortcomings and the highest price he could have paid for his as a pub- lic person." Hyzler declared the case as closed. Thake's unpaid VAT: Hyzler finds ethics breach Former Nationalist MP David Thake resigned after the unpaid VAT saga

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