The Malta Independent 16 August 2018, Thursday

People appealing and resisting investigation are the ones wasting court’s time - Simon Busuttil

Rebekah Cilia Monday, 21 May 2018, 22:07 Last update: about 4 months ago

Referring to the appeal made by Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri to the original inquiry against them, Simon Busutill said this was wasting the court’s time not presenting fresh evidence.

Speaking during adjournment time, Busutill on Monday summarised the details of 17Black and the grave implications of the email constituting its revelation.

This was following a decision made by the magistrate’s court that same day rejecting a fresh inquiry into the dealings of Mizzi and Schembri. Busutill explained that Magistrate Francesco Depasquale did, in fact, confirm that a criminal inquiry should be opened in the case of Keith Schembri, Konrad Mizzi, Brian Tonna and Karl Cini, however, this should be part of the existing inquiry. In fact, Busutill quoted Depasquale as saying that the prerequisites necessary by law to investigate appear to exist.

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The original July 2017 inquiry refers to a request made by Busuttil shortly after the general election for a criminal probe into Panama Papers, through which it transpired that Mizzi and Schembri had opened companies in the central American country.

Busutill pointed out that this was the second time that a Magistrate had said that a criminal inquiry should be made against Mizzi and Schembri. He explained that last year when he made the request it was accepted from the first Magistrate but Joseph Muscat, Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi appealed the ruling to open the investigation. Busutill believes that if they had nothing to hide they would allow for the investigation to take place, not oppose it. The appeal then ended up in front of a judge who is married to a deputy of the Labour Party, Busutill added.

Busutill said his request for the judge to recuse himself was still pending, and hoped that a decision would be reached soon.

The implications of the leaked email revealing 17 Black are ‘grave’, Busutill emphasised. He said that the email was so serious that it should have had much larger consequences. He explained that the Panama companies opened by Schembri and Mizzi were to receive $150,000 per month from 17 Black. He also said there was a relation between 17 Black, the project of the power station and consequently the higher electricity bills people were receiving.

Busuttil also said he believed that the $150,000 per month were still making their way to Schembri and Mizzi, but through a different route.

Busuttil concluded by saying that PM Joseph Muscat should shoulder political responsibility which does not need to wait for criminal responsibility. In the least, he said, they should have resigned two years ago until their names were cleared. He said the fight for justice will prevail as well as the fight for the rule of law. Two years have passed and instead of doing what was expected of him as a prime minister and as happens in every other country in Europe, Muscat continued to defend them, Busutill finished off.

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