On 9 November 2021 Parliament’s Standards Committee unanimously adopted a report by the Commissioner for Standards which concluded that the Hon. Rosianne Cutajar MP had failed to declare income from the sale of a property in Mdina.
In his report the Commissioner stated that the property in question had been sold for the sum of €3.1 million, and the brokerage fee from the sale amounted to €93,000. The Commissioner concluded on the basis of a balance of probabilities that the Hon. Cutajar had acted as broker for the sale together with her canvasser Charles Farrugia, and they had shared the brokerage fee between them.
The sale of the Mdina property took place in May 2019, when the Hon. Cutajar was serving as member of Parliament and as Commissioner for Simplification and the Reduction of Bureaucracy (an appointment on trust within the Office of the Prime Minister).
In January 2020 the Hon. Cutajar was appointed Parliamentary Secretary for Equality and Reform. In this capacity she was required to declare her income for the year 2019, but her declaration made no reference to her share of the brokerage fee. For this reason the Commissioner for Standards concluded that she had breached her ethical obligations as Parliamentary Secretary.
In February 2021, following media reports on this case, the Hon. Cutajar resigned as Parliamentary Secretary but remained an MP.
The Commissioner for Standards presented his report on this case to the Standards Committee, together with two volumes of supporting evidence, on 2 July 2021. The Committee authorised the publication of all three documents on 5 July 2021.
Some days later the media reported that Charles Farrugia would be declaring the full amount of the brokerage fee as his own income for tax purposes.
Subsequently the Standards Committee resolved to conduct its own investigation as provided for by the Standards in Public Life Act. On 9 November 2021 it heard evidence from the Commissioner for Revenue, Marvin Gaerty, who stated that the Hon. Rosianne Cutajar remained under investigation by the Inland Revenue Department, although he did not divulge any further information. At the same meeting the members of the Committee unanimously agreed to adopt the case report by the Commissioner for Standards.
The case remains under consideration by the Standards Committee, which will decide what sanctions, if any, it should impose on the Hon. Cutajar.