The Malta Independent 22 May 2019, Wednesday

‘All resources required’ will be made available for 17 Black inquiry – Edward Scicluna

Albert Galea Friday, 15 February 2019, 16:46 Last update: about 4 months ago

"All the resources required" will be made available for the 17 Black inquiry as is done for any other allegation that is being considered by the Maltese courts, Finance Minister Edward Scicluna said on Friday.

Asked by this newsroom about a statement from Yorgen Fenech - Tumas Group CEO, Electrogas power station director and reported owner of 17 Black - wherein he said that he had not been questioned or interrogated by the police or any other law enforcement entity on anything, Scicluna said that these were "serious allegations" which are "under the magistrate's attention" and noted that like in other cases, his ministry would be making all the financial resources required available to the magistrate so that justice could be done.

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He said that in a country where there is rule of law, there is "comfort" in believing in the courts and noted that the less interference from politicians that there is, the better. One cannot, on one hand, say that they are independent but then when there is an issue ask the minister to interfere or to give his opinion, he said.

He said that as with any other allegation considered by the courts, his ministry would be making sure that the courts receive all the resources required, and he cited a specific inquiry where the sum that the Finance Ministry made available transcended into the millions, something which was "unprecedented" and a "record".

Scicluna was most likely referring to the Egrant inquiry, which cost €1.26 million to conduct.

He said that it is important that the courts are not limited or restricted by budgets so that they carry out work and carry it out quickly, adding that when justice is delayed, it is not justice and that it must be as efficient and fast as possible.

Yorgen Fenech told a Swedish media outlet which asked him about his involvement in the Dubai-based compay 17 Black, which he is reported to be the owner of, that he had never been questioned or interrogated by police or other law enforcement entities.

The statement comes around four months after Justice Minister Owen Bonnici told Parliament that a specific inquiry into 17 Black had been ongoing for a number of weeks, even before Reuters and the Times of Malta revealed that Fenech owned the secret company.

Fenech has denied all allegations of corruption, but has not denied whether he is the owner of the controversial company, which was named as one of two which would pay $2 million into the Panama companies belonging to government minister Konrad Mizzi and the Prime Minister's Chief of Staff Keith Schembri.

 


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