The Malta Independent 20 June 2019, Thursday

Delia should request magisterial inquiry on all that was said about him over last two years - PM

Neil Camilleri Sunday, 24 March 2019, 12:15 Last update: about 4 months ago

While Adrian Delia has every right to ask for a police investigation into what he says are forged signatures, the Opposition should also request a magisterial inquiry into allegations levelled against him over the past two years, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said on Sunday.

On Saturday, Delia said that he had asked the police commissioner to investigate documents on which his signature had been forged. He also asked the police to see what links exist between these documents and allegations that there exists and FIAU report concerning him, which was leaked to Times of Malta.

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The newspaper said a report by the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit drafted in March 2018, concluded that sufficient information was available to conclude that Delia and his bank account in Jersey “may have been used for money laundering.”

Speaking in Marsascala, the PM said he would not go into the issue of the forged signatures. “My family and I know better than anyone what it feels like to face lies based on forged documents,” he said, in obvious reference to the Egrant saga.

Muscat asked, however, whether Delia’s “colleagues” who had tried to destabilise the country two years ago on the basis of these lies, would now do the same with regard to the Opposition Leader.

“Adrian Delia should not only request an investigation into these signatures but he should go to a magistrate, tomorrow, and request an investigation into all that has been said about him over the past two years.”

During the political event, Muscat also spoke about the turnaround at Air Malta and Enemalta, praising Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi and the employees of these two entities.

While previous nationalist administrations had started dismantling Air Malta, this government changed old work practices and began to expand the airline’s operations.

“Our aim is to see the airline grow further, while at the same time increase routes operated by other airlines to and from Malta,” he said. “Our vision for Air Malta is for it to not only be the national airline but the Mediterranean airline. These will be the formations years of a new Air Malta.”

Muscat also referred to this week’s criticism, by the Opposition, about an NSO report that said Malta registered a deficit in the first two months of the year. He quipped that the accounts should be worked out at the end of the year while promising that the government would register a surplus in 2019 as well. At the same time, it would increase pensions and social services again.

He also said the deficit was due to the huge expenditure being made in capital investments.

“We were never afraid of change. Change is what unites and takes us forward. The moment we stop changing is the moment we start failing,” he said. “Previous administrations started disappointing the people when they started thinking that there was no need for change.”

Muscat said the government will embark on another historic change on Monday when it starts implementing a third of the Venice Commission’s recommendations, which include the separation of powers of the Attorney General.

“The laws we have now had passed the EU’s screening test when we joined. There was no objection back then by the European Commission either. The PN in government did nothing to change these laws. But we accept the fact that what was good ten years ago may need to change now. And we are making these changes within a hundred days of being given these recommendations.”

The PM also spoke about a recent report that placed Malta at the top of the list when it comes to equality.  “Over the years hundreds of men were elected to Parliament but only 27 were elected. Is this acceptable? In my book it is not - this is not equality.”

Muscat said the government’s proposals are not about quotas but rather about positive measures that will lead to more equality. “We will be hearing the usual conservative arguments coming from the same people,” he warned, “but I will be at the forefront of this struggle. This is not a question of votes but one that defines us as a country. Because we still do not have the equality that we deserve.” 

 

PN reaction

Reacting, the Nationalist Party said various international reports, including from the European Commission condemned the government’s lack of planning in various sectors.

This means that Joseph Muscat is not credible when he says that the government has created opportunities out of challenges. The government, the PN said, does not have any long-term plans and its economic model of increasing the population is creating a lot of difficulties for many sectors. The government has lost its social compass, it said.

Statistics showed that Malta was the only country where salaries are decreasing, thanks to cheap labour. Malta also has the highest inflation rate since 2017.

The EC, the PN said, had also highlighted the lack of will by the government to address the pensions issue. This at a time when one out of every five pensioners is living in poverty or at risk of poverty.

 

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