The Malta Independent 18 November 2018, Sunday

PN labels Konrad Mizzi, Keith Schembri scandal as ‘biggest in Maltese political history’

Helena Grech Thursday, 3 March 2016, 13:23 Last update: about 4 years ago

The Nationalist Party today described the scandal involving the Prime Minister’s closest allies Minister Konrad Mizzi and chief of staff Keith Schembri as the biggest in Maltese political history.

Addressing the media, the president of the PN executive council Ann Fenech said the people expect answers on why Labour Party Deputy leader Mizzi and Mr Schembri, who the PN said were the PM’s right-hand and left-hand men, had opened up companies in Panama.

What Minister Mizzi said about getting advice from Mr Schembri who encouraged him to open a secret company in Panama and a trust in New Zealand shows that the situation is getting worse day after day, and PM Muscat cannot avoid giving answers. PM must reply and also sack the two, Dr Fenech said.

Asked about why Dr Mizzi said he would close down his company in Panama after being audited by the Commissioner for Inland Revenue, since it would be a fruitless exercise due to Panama’s secrecy laws, Dr Fenech said:

“The statement issued by Dr Mizzi with a view to pretending that all is in order because he is going to be audited is a whole load of nonsense because there is nothing the Commissioner of Inland Revenue can do in Malta with regard to auditing either Panamanian companies or a trust in New Zealand, so this is all hogwash.”

“I believe that in a serious democracy, which is reflected in the good governance report published by the PN, it is very important that high ranking officials, as well as members of Parliament, open themselves up to public scrutiny.

Public scrutiny is of paramount importance to good governance and a sound democracy, so therefore if these people are involving themselves in financial structures which are not open to public scrutiny – this is not acceptable, and should not be permitted,” she added.

She asked who is leading the country and who is taking decisions, whether it was Joseph Muscat, or Konrad Mizzi, or Keith Schembri. She said the people want answer on matters that have so far not been denied, such as that the two opened their Panama secret companies at the same time. This happened when the two were together with PM Muscat in Azerbaijan without anyone from the civil service or the media present.

It does not make sense, she added, that Dr Mizzi and Mr Schembri, instead of investing in Malta and use the country's financial structures which are known around the world as been strong and serious, choose to take their money across the world, she said. This matter is of concern to people in the financial services industry who have worked hard to put services officer in Malta on a sound footing, and who are now seeing two top officials choosing a country where there is no financial scrutiny.

Speaking about Dr Muscat’s comments this morning where he said he would attend the anti-corruption protest if it not were for Dr Busuttil leading the march, she said that this calls the Prime Minister’s credibility into question. She noted the high number of scandals which have plagued the nation since the last general election – and again questioned Dr Muscat’s credibility in relation to good governance.

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