The Malta Independent 23 October 2018, Tuesday

House erupts in chaos as Busuttil reiterates belief that Egrant belongs to PM

Julian Bonnici Wednesday, 10 October 2018, 19:44 Last update: about 12 days ago

The House of Representatives erupted into chaos once again this evening as Opposition MP Simon Busuttil repeated that "he and thousands of others" believed that the infamous Egrant belonged to Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and his wife during his adjournment speech to Parliament. 

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Busuttil's speech brought repeated condemnation from the other side of the house, with Economy Minister Chris Cardona and MP Glen Bedingfield becoming particularly animated, as Deputy Speaker Claudette Buttigieg repeatedly warned MPs to behave orderly.

This culminated in Buttigieg throwing Glenn Bedingfield out of Parliament after he was found to have sworn in the House.

In his speech, Busuttil explained that he refrained from commenting on the conclusions of the Egrant Inquiry until its full version was published, until the PM "threatened" him during yesterday's heated sitting by alleging that Busuttil had committed fraud, falsified the signatures of the Egrant document, and should "not return to the country".

He said that he categorically denies the PM's claims.

"Who fights corruption becomes the criminal, and who closed their eyes to corruption plays the victim," Busuttil said.

Busuttil added that while he has been labelled a fraudster by the PM, it was those at Mossack Fonseca who were charged with money laundering. 

On the case itself, Busuttil said it was telling that the inquiry did not specifically say that Muscat was not the owner of Egrant, but rather that it could not prove he was. 

"I believed and still believe that Egrant belongs to [Muscat] and his wife," he said. 

As PL MPs begun to express their discontent, Busuttil said that "it speaks volumes that they do not let continue."

On the Egrant accusation itself, Busuttil said that it was based upon a credible report from Daphne Caruana Galizia, given her previous revelations that Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri had owed two companies in Panama. 

"Yet [Muscat] took no action," Busuttil said.

Busuttil then claimed that Muscat only went to open a magisterial inquiry once "his mind was settled that evidence had left after the Police Commissioner went to a fenkata and a plane had left."

This once again brought the ire of PL Whip Byron Camilleri who took umbrage with the fact that Busuttil was in effect accusing the PM of a criminal act, citing standing orders for his justification. 

Busuttil, who was flanked by Jason Azzopardi and Karol Aquilina, was warned by Buttigieg over his comments, but not before he told Cardona that "we are not in a bordello or at a bachelor's party" as the minister lambasted him for making such claims under the protection of parliamentary privilege. 

Turning back to the allegation, Busuttil said people needed to "be stupid not to understand that the PM knows who owns Egrant"

"He can just ask Brian Tonna and Nexia BT; why wasn't the identity of Egrant established after the initial story; all he had to do was ask."


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