The Malta Independent 15 November 2018, Thursday

Updated: PANA committee summons Joseph Muscat for questioning on 18 May, PM declines

Joanna Demarco Thursday, 4 May 2017, 12:56 Last update: about 3 years ago

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has been summoned by the PANA committee and Greens Party for questioning in Brussels on the 18 May, AD chairman Arnold Cassola has said.

But the Prime Minister was quick to dismiss the summons, saying that he will only testify before the committee after the inquiry report is published. Muscat ordered a magisterial inquiry into claims that his wife if the owner of a company in Panama, an allegation the Muscat couple refuse.

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In a post on Facebook, Alternattive Demokratika leader Arnold Cassola said that AD "fully endorse the Greens and PANA committee request to Prime Minister Muscat to go to Brussels on 18 May."

Last month, Werner Langer, President of the European Parliament PANA investigating committee, had written to Prime Minister Joseph Muscat urging him to use his authority to send Keith Schembri to Strasbourg on 18 May to be asked questions by the PANA Committee.

In the letter, Mr Langer said that the PANA committee visited Malta on 20 February and "had constructive talks with many interlocutors". The OPM chief of staff, Keith Schembri, had however refused to attend a session with the committee. The PANA committee have now also asked Dr Muscat to go before the committee on 18 May.

MEP Sven Giegold, financial and economic policy spokesperson of the Greens/EFA group commented: "Prime minister Muscat has to explain the latest developments and allegations regarding the offshore company called e-grant. The credibility of the EU is at stake as Malta holds the Presidency of the EU and is currently negotiating on revising the anti-money laundering standards. It is highly unusual to call for elections during a Presidency. This election may not delay the inquiry of the European Parliament."

"We have already invited the Maltese Presidency twice and they didn't show up. Similarly, we requested to meet with Mr Schembri, chief of staff of the Prime Minister and he refused to see us in Malta or to come to Brussels. In addition, the Greens have successfully insisted that Nexia BT will be reinvited to PANA in June. "

 

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In a statement issued via the Department of Information, the PM said that he turns down the summons to appear before the committee on the established date, 18 May.

He will do so when the magisterial inquiry which he himself asked for to investigate false accusations against him is concluded. The Prime Minister will be able to show beyond any doubt how the Opposition Leader lied against him personally and his family, the statement said.

Malta Post Press_2_v2 from The Malta Independent on Vimeo.

The government accused the Nationalist Party of instigating the PANA committee to summon the PM during the election campaign.

"The fingerprints of the Nationalist Party’s intervention are everywhere because the Pana Committee could have summoned the Prime Minister when it was on a fact-finding mission in Malta last February.

"The Prime Minister reiterates that he looks forward to appear in front of the European Parliament after the magisterial inquiry unequivocally determines the facts."

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