Director of Fisheries Department suspended following claims she asked for bribes from tuna industry
The Director of the Fisheries Department Andreina Fenech Farrugia has been suspended from her post following reports that she had asked for bribes from one of the largest tuna companies in Spain.
Dr Fenech Farrugia was suspended after phone transcripts were published in Spain between her and Josè Fuentes Garcìa, who leads Grupp Fuentes. These transcripts show that she asked for payment to allow undeclared amounts of tuna beyond the established quotas, to enter the market. The group Fuentes in Malta also has a company which deals with tuna pens.
TVM is informed that this development occurred following an investigation by Spanish authorities which has been ongoing for the last few months about the illegal tuna in the market. It is understood that the Spanish secret service tapped Dr Fenech Farrugia’s telephone calls.
In comments to TVM, the Chief Executive of the Maltese Federation of Aquaculture products, Dr Charlon Gouder said that this is worrying news which requires immediate action. He said he understands that Dr Fenech Farrugia has the right to defend herself because everyone is presumed innocent. On the other hand, said Dr Gouder, the industry can no longer continue to be implicated by this type of allegations. He said that the Federation was closely following the development of this case in Spain.