A heated exchange of views during the session of the Public Accounts Parliamentary Committee caused the meeting to be suspended after two different rulings were requested from the Speaker regarding whether a witness should be allowed to read out a declaration before questions are asked. The Committee was scheduled to hear Nationalist MP Jason Azzopardi regarding the expropriation of land at tal-Fekruna at St Paul’s Bay when he was the Minister Responsible for Lands.
Azzopardi said he had a sworn statement to read out and was granted permission to read it out aloud by the Chairman Beppe Fenech Adami while copies of the statement were distributed to Committee members.
Lawyer Robert Abela on behalf of Government members objected and said that guidelines used by the Committee make it clear that a declaration can only be verbal or otherwise presented in writing. He insisted that Government representatives begin questioning the witness. After various arguments between the two sides, Chairman Fenech Adami as well as Dr Abela requested a ruling from the Speaker.