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[WATCH] Abela sticks neck out for Ian Borg, customer care officials over driving licence racket

Prime Minister Robert Abela defended Minister Ian Borg in the wake of the driving test fraud story, which has been further exposed by The Times of Malta.

"To Minister Borg, who is evidently seen engaging in an intricate part of his duty, should I have told him to stop? On the contrary, I encourage him to persist in his endeavors in the field of international politics," Abela said on Sunday morning.

Few hours before addressing people at the Labour Party headquarters, WhatsApp chats with a Transport Malta officer in charge of driving examinations revealed that former Transport Minister Ian Borg forwarded names of test candidates that had to be "taken care of" to ensure they passed their exams.

The chats show that government officials would simply flag the names of candidates to Mansueto. Mansueto would then seek to assign those candidates a "friendly" driving examiner or move them up the queue for a driving test.

Standing up for Borg, Abela said he is a primary witness to Borg's "great work" within the Foreign Affairs Ministry, especially during Malta's presidency in the United Nations.

He also defended customer care officials and other ministers, who, according to reports by The Times, might have also been involved.

"Are we suggesting that we should discard the primary function of those officials and government customer care workers who diligently performed their duties, striving to assist the people without considering political affiliations or other factors?" Abela asked.

Abela even insisted that his only disappointment in light of all this is that a small number of people working with the government customer care are not doing enough to help the public.

'Police charged people more than a year ago'

Abela insisted that the police diligently pursued allegations of wrongdoing, taking legal action where necessary.

"Where they found alleged irregularities, they brought the people to court more than a year ago, and where they found that things were done in a legitimate way, they did not charge anyone," Abela said.

Right after cautioning against making hasty judgments based on political affiliations, Abela mentioned that some of the accused have enlisted legal representation from members of the opposition party, and he also noted the involvement of a "prominent member of the Nationalist Party," referring to Beppe Fenech Adami.

According to The Times, Borg recommended helping Nationalist MP Beppe Fenech Adami's son, but Fenech Adami said he had no recollection of bringing up these matters with Borg, other than "critically telling him that applications for driving tests at Malta Transport were taking months to be processed."

Abela also said that police investigations are ongoing and encouraged the public to allow the natural legal process to continue unhindered.

The Prime Minister also criticised The Times of Malta, clarifying that what has been revealed is not new information but rather "a recycled story from two years ago."

"Exclusive reporting a recycled story from two years ago, the first page, as if they discovered the world today," Abela said.