Tuesday, 5 January 2021, 07:20
Last update: about 29 minutes ago
PN MP Adrian Delia told The Malta Independent that he had asked an audit firm to conduct an enhanced due diligence exercise on the Chairman of Catco Group Capital Investment prior to the €500,000 donation made to id-Dar tal-Providenza.
The former PN Leader had presented a €500,000 donation pledge on behalf of Catco Group Capital Investment during the annual fundraiser for the charity. Catco is also the new sponsor for the Sliema Wanderers F.C.
The due diligence exercise, he said, was on the company’s Chairman, but in terms of a source of funds check, he said that id-Dar tal-Providenza is responsible for conducting it. The Tunisian-based company is a player in oil, gas and the automotive industry in Africa and the Middle East.
The donation raised certain questions as the company does not have any known interests in Malta, other than the Sliema Wanderers sponsorship, such as why an MP was the one to present the funds.
Asked how he became the person to present the funds, Delia said that he knew about the financial problems id-Dar tal-Providenza was facing and was trying to approach companies in Malta that would be able to commit to donating, for example, €1,000 every six months, in order to create a structure of donations.
“I then started looking at possible international companies that are in Malta or are coming to Malta as they would have large Corporate Social Responsibility budgets and I was trying to identify who is on the radar. I got to know about Catco and asked about them. There were people who knew me through football and I spoke with them. When I saw that they were talking about a large amount, instead of continuing to speak with five companies at once, I spoke to them.
In a statement after the fundraising event, Dar tal-Providenza said all donations of €5,000 and over, as well as all pledges above €10,000 from individuals and companies are subject to a vetting process, as they are obliged to do. As part of this process, and also in conformity with regulatory requirements, Id-Dar tal-Providenza requested further documentation following the pledge of €500,000 by Catco Group Capital Investment. Id-Dar tal-Providenza said that it does not only rely on documentation provided but conducts its own verification process before accepting such donations. “Acceptance of the donation is subject to the Home’s internal verification process.”
Asked whether he had conducted any due diligence prior to presenting the donation, Delia said that when he made contact with the benefactor, he had asked for a due diligence exercise by an audit firm, prior to speaking about the donation itself.
Delia clarified that he had a ‘top audit firm’ conduct an enhanced due diligence exercise on the person behind Catco, Chairman Fisal Abdullah Alokla. Delia said that he received the enhanced due diligence report and then began negotiating. Nothing untoward was found in the due diligence report, he said.
A due diligence exercise, he said, focuses on who the person is, looks into whether the person was mentioned in a bad light in the media, and so on. When it comes to payments being made, he said, then a source of funds check needs to take place, but explained that id-Dar tal-Providenza needs to check that. In terms of source of funds checks, he said that such an exercise is done at the moment money is to be transacted. When it comes to any financial transaction over a certain amount for any reason, one needs to conduct a source of funds check, he explained.
“I explained this to Fr. Martin (from Dar tal-Providenza) and told him that I did what I could do by that point and subsequently I sent him the documentation I had.” He said that id-Dar tal-Providenza, since the amount so large, needs to make their confirmations.
He said that when he and Catco established the amount at the end of their discussions, he had requested to know where the funds are coming from, however said that he did not have enough time to make a new report. Regardless of this, he said, id-Dar tal-Providenza has an obligation to make such a check anyway since they would be receiving the funds. He said he explained all this to Fr Martin.
Certain sections of the press had also reported that Delia intended to set up a charity foundation to support id-Dar tal-Providenza.
Asked about this, he said that he did not exactly say that, but that his words meant that he would be looking to lay down the foundations for future aid for id-Dar tal-Providenza.
“My focus was and will be on contacting family, friends, businesses both local and foreign to work towards achieving a long-term sustainable charitable foundation to give comfort and serenity to the home’s angel residents.”
“So id-Dar tal-Providenza will still depend on donations, but there should be a foundation below it where, for example, they would have a million euros coming in each year. They can then add onto that with their telethon and so on. I am not excluding that it would take the form of a foundation though, as in these instances it is the vehicle that is mostly adapted for these kinds of things.”
“I am trying to figure out legally, through help from networks and through finding benefactors if there is a way to create a structure that will result in providing them peace of mind, where they would have a basic amount coming in, and then just focus on raising the rest through events etc. That is what I have in mind.”