The Malta Independent 12 December 2018, Wednesday

Muscat under pressure as senior ministers, MPs urge him to take action on Mizzi and Schembri

Rachel Attard & David Lindsay Sunday, 11 November 2018, 09:30 Last update: about 29 days ago

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat is facing extreme pressure from leading exponents of his parliamentary group to finally take action against Minister Konrad Mizzi and his chief of staff Keith Schembri in the wake of the latest 17 Black graft allegations.

In the meantime, Nationalist Party MEP David Casa yesterday wrote to German Secretary of State Stephan Mayer to "immediately launch an investigation in terms of the German Criminal Code" given a German company's involvement in the ElectroGas consortium. Casa said that "the clear evidence of corruption and money laundering as well as the fact that a connection to the assassination of a journalist cannot be excluded".

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Well-informed government sources speaking to this newspaper on condition of anonymity, said yesterday that since the outbreak of the latest details on Friday of graft linked to the commissioning of the Delimara power station, senior ministers, Labour Members of Parliament and close friends have been advising Muscat to cut Schembri and Mizzi loose before the collateral damage becomes too much to bear.

They are suggesting that the Prime Minister takes urgent action on Mizzi and Schembri – to have them suspend themselves, or possibly even step down, from their duties until ongoing inquiries and investigations are concluded.

In fact, sources have informed this newspaper that the reason the Office of the Prime Minister did not react on Friday was because the Prime Minister was inundated with phone calls from his people urging him to take action against the pair once and for all.

Those same sources speaking to this newspaper appear to have had no solace from the Prime Minister, and have also warned this newspaper that the government will, in all likelihood, issue a statement today rebutting the information.

Senior Labour politicians are perplexed by Muscat stubborn defence of Mizzi and Schembri, and cannot fathom how he has not taken immediate remedial action against them after Friday’s revelations in a joint article by The Times of Malta and Reuters. The article exposed ElectroGas director Yorgen Fenech as the Ultimate Beneficial Owner of the secret company 17 Black, the “target clients” of Mizzi’s and Schembri’s financial machinations.

Questioned on Friday evening, Muscat said when confronted by journalists that he will wait until the inquiries related to allegations made about 17 Black are concluded before taking any steps.

“I have said from the beginning that I will wait for the investigations and inquiries, some of which were asked for by independent judiciaries and others by the Opposition, to be concluded. I will then take the decisions I need to take.

“I also note that that I cannot ascertain myself what the journalists saw, and they are quoting investigations that are being conducted by Maltese authorities. Up until yesterday, I was still hearing the criticism that the Maltese authorities were not really investigating."

Casa calls on German authorities to investigate Siemens' role in ElectroGas graft

David Casa yesterday wrote to the German Secretary of State Stephan Mayer calling for an immediate investigation into Siemens' possible involvement in the graft, invoking Sections 299-302 of the German Criminal Code dealing with bribery in commercial business transactions and other relevant provisions of German law.

Casa pointed out that "Siemens is a shareholder in Electrogas - the company behind Malta's power station project. Electrogas director Yorgen Fenech has been exposed as the Ultimate Beneficial Owner of the secret company 17 Black by the Daphne Project - a group of world-renowned journalists that are continuing the work of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. According to correspondence between Mossack Fonseca and Nexia BT, 17 Black was to transfer €150,000 monthly each to Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri, two high level politically exposed persons that are the minds behind Malta's power station project.

"Funds from entities associated with the power station project were transferred to 17 Black. Funds found in 17 Black's bank account at Noor Bank in Dubai were frozen last September.

"At the time of Daphne Caruana Galizia's assassination the journalist was working on the biggest leak of data she had ever received - access to Electrogas servers.

"The most recent revelations of the Daphne Project have continued to vindicate Daphne Caruana Galizia's investigative work.

"In view of the involvement of Siemens in Electrogas, the clear evidence of corruption and money laundering as well as the fact that a connection to the assassination of a journalist cannot be excluded, I call on you to immediately launch an investigation in terms of the above quoted articles of the German Criminal Code."


 

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