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Driving licence scandal: ‘I want to win his vote,' OPM official told Mansueto

An official from Prime Minister Robert Abela’s office fed names into a Transport Malta racket to help selected candidates obtain a driving license

WhatsApp chats obtained by Times of Malta show OPM “customer care” official Ray Mizzi, a Labour activist, even linked the practice to winning votes. 

“This is my daughter’s partner’s cousin and I want to win his vote. His mother is with us,” Mizzi said in a February 2021 message. 

Mansueto responded: “Viva il Labour dejjem!”

“Always,” Mizzi replied.  

WhatsApp chats reviewed by Times of Malta reveal how at least 11 government and Transport officials passed on names to Mansueto. It is the latest in a series of scandals that have rocked the Labour government.

In previous messages, Mizzi had described the candidate as needing help in his theory test, as he does not know how to “read or write”. 

Mansueto set up a theory test for the candidate, warning Mizzi “to not say a word to anyone” about the matter as it could lead to trouble. 

“They will know about him. He just has to tell them he has an appointment,” Mansueto said in the message. 

Mizzi passed on over 20 names to Mansueto between June 2018 and October 2021. 

Mansueto was last year charged with corruption and trading in influence, along with two low-level clerks.

Prosecutors have accused the trio of helping driving candidates cheat in their driving tests. All three deny the charges. 

In January 2020, Mizzi referred one candidate who he said was from “Michael Falzon’s district”. 

“She applied for the test, maybe we can speed things up for her,” Mizzi said in the message to Mansueto. 

‘Only his mother is with us!’

Another message about a candidate is laced with partisan overtones about the candidate’s political affiliations.

“[Candidate’s details redacted] motorcycle test. Can they give him a date please, he’s from San Gwann,” Mizzi said in a December 2020 message. 

An exasperated Mansueto replied that the person had already contacted several other people asking for help. 

“I don’t know who he is, it was sent to me from Michael Falzon’s ministry,” Mizzi replied. 

“He even contacted Ian,” Mansueto said of the candidate. 

Despite saying he did not know the candidate, the conversation soon turned to the candidate’s politics. 

“Ignore him my friend…No worries, especially seeing that he probably isn’t with us. Fuck him…only his mother is with us! His father and sister are unknown, as is he,” Mizzi said. 

Ray Mizzi representing the Labour Party at the counting hall. Photo: Brian Mifsud.Ray Mizzi representing the Labour Party at the counting hall. Photo: Brian Mifsud.

When contacted, Mizzi, who now works as an aide to Falzon, said he always carried out his duties in good faith and without any malicious intent. 

“My job as a customer care officer is to assist persons who come forward with queries.

I want to emphasize that I was never asked to give my version during the investigations. Nevertheless, since I fully respect the ongoing sub-judice court case, I will not comment any further”, Mizzi said. 

Clint Camilleri's chief of staff

Michael Buhagiar, chief of staff to Gozo Minister Clint Camilleri, similarly dropped the prospect of vote-winning in a chat with Mansueto. 

“[Candidate’s details redacted] Time 12.30pm…” 

“We need her vote. She’s important because she’s a delegate”, Buhagiar told Mansueto in a February 2019 message. 

The candidate, according to the message, was due to sit for a certificate of professional competence exam the next day. 

Gozo Minister Clint Camilleri.Gozo Minister Clint Camilleri.

Mansueto advised that it would perhaps be best if she didn’t turn up for the exam, as a “big group” was set to sit for it that particular day. 

The next day after the scheduled hour of the test, Buhagiar immediately followed up. 

“Did she pass???,” he asked. 

Mansueto replied saying: “I helped her as much as I could”. 

This was followed up by a message a few days later, confirming the candidate passed the exam. 

The messages show that between 2018 and 2021, Buhagiar sent Mansueto around 50 names. 

These ranged from people who needed specificity licenses for their job with the Civil Protection,  to Buhagiar flagging the test date of his own son to Mansueto. 

He would at times pass on the name of a candidate a day or two before their test, with the words: "Can we help out". 

He even asked for his son to be given a push. 

“[Name redacted] Buhagiar [ID card redacted] 

“His driving test is on 15 October. This is my son. Thanks,” the message, sent in September 2020 reads. 

Contacted by Times of Malta, Buhagiar said his job is to hear out any complaints referred to him. 

“When these complaints are the result of departmental inefficiencies, I believe that it is not simply my duty but the duty of all public officers in general to address the relative shortcomings.”

“I can also confirm in the most absolute of terms that at no point in time did I request that any person who did not qualify for the attainment of a driving license should be given one,” Buhagiar said. 

Read excerpts from Mizzi’s chats below:

29/01/2020, 14:13 - Ray Mizzi: Issa ghandi wahda mid-distrett ta Michael Falzon applikat ghat test forsi nhaffula naqra biex jibaghtu ghaliha.

jistaw jibatu ghalih biex jitla at test tal mutur dan min san gwann pls

ara jaqdinix ray fuq il mutur dan ga batlek fuq 🙏

Nistghu nghinuh lil dan jekk joghgbok ?

15/12/2020, 10:49 - Clint Mansueto: Ray Dan xeba jibat l hemm u l hawn... Li qed jitlob huwa naqra impossibli bhalissa.... Dan irrid jifhem naqra

15/12/2020, 11:20 - Clint Mansueto: Ray Dan xeba jibat l hemm u l hawn.... Sorry ma nistax intih data alissa... Gejjin il festi u xeba examiners bil leave u skejjel fuq shut down

15/12/2020, 11:23 - Ray Mizzi: Injorah siehbi. Jien l-anqas naf jekk tistax tirrangalu peress li tal-mutur. Ghedt forsi tkun taf lil xihadd. No worries, aktar u aktar xaktarx li huwa kontra. F’ghoxx kemm ghandu.

Darba kont staqsejtek ghax ghandi wiehed jigi l-kugin tar ragel tat-tifla ghandu bzonn l-ghajnuna ghall-ezami tat-teorija. Ma jafx jikteb u jaqra.

28/01/2021, 14:23 - Clint Mansueto: Naqra problema bhalissa.... Int filkas tini ismu imma tparla xejn ma Hadd... ghax nigi fl inkwiet... U nara naqra

Dak [Candidate’s details redacted] ghal ghada fit-08.00. 



23/02/2021, 08:57 - Ray Mizzi: Dan kugin tar-ragel tat-tifla u rrid nerbah il-vot tieghu. Ommu maghna.

Read excerpts from Michael Buhagiar’s chat below: 

13/08/2018, 11:36 - Michael Buhagiar: Clint ghandi lil dawn it tnejn ghal ezami tad driving C u C1 ghal ghada filghodu.

Hudli hsieb ghax dawn ghandhom bzonnu ghal ma tas Civil Protection.

[Candidate’s details redacted]

[Candidate’s details redacted]

[Candidate’s details redacted]

Ara din wahda ghal ghada customer care course

15/02/2019, 12:53 -Michael Buhagiar: Clint ghandi persuna mil Albanija li ma tafx taqra u tikteb bl ingliz, hemm xi cans li naghtuha interpretu biex jaghmel l ezami tat teorija ghal licenzja tal karozza.

16/02/2019, 10:26 - Clint Mansueto: Albaniz mandiex.... [Details of candidate referred to him 13/02/2019] OK pass

09/05/2019, 12:50 - Michael Buhagiar: [Details of candidate redacted]  fit 12 ta junju fid disgha  99335785 ghandu l ezami tal computer bl instructor tal mutur.

Nistghu nghinuh please

Ghandu it test tas sewqan ( prattika) fil 15 ta Ottubru.

Dan it tifel tieghi


26/10/2020, 15:06 - Michael Buhagiar: Dan ser jersaq ghat test nhar l erbgha u ser jkollu t test Malta.

Hudli hsiebu please forsi jghaddi.

Test @ 8.45am

Ghandha it test tal prattika ghada, nistghu nghinuha please