The Malta Independent 18 September 2019, Wednesday

Keith Schembri not part of Konrad Mizzi’s delegation on Dubai trip

Rebekah Cilia Tuesday, 11 June 2019, 08:38 Last update: about 4 months ago

The Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff, Keith Schembri did not form part of the government delegation, which included Minister for Tourism, Konrad Mizzi on the infamous Dubai trip in August 2015.

This was confirmed by Prime Minister Joseph Muscat in reply to a parliamentary question put forward by PN MP, Simon Busuttil, yesterday.

In a separate parliamentary question, Busuttil asked Mizzi to explain why he does not want to state with whom he met, and who accompanied him during the trip, which was “supposed to be governmental work.”

Mizzi replied that since the question refers to a previous ministerial post, the additional information is still being collected.

This follows what Mizzi had told The Malta Independent when asked about the trip. Mizzi had said that he “will have to check the confidentiality arrangements with clients” before giving the details on meetings “related to investment-related purposes” he attended during various unannounced official government visits in 2015 and 2016.

It is alleged that attempts were made in August 2015 to set up Dubai bank accounts for companies he and OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri had opened in Panama.

Previous parliamentary questions regarding the same subject were replied to vaguely by Mizzi.

This newsroom had also attempted to pose questions to Mizzi two weeks ago. Questions included the specific dates during which he was abroad in August 2015, February 2016 and November 2016 (departure and return), what the governmental business meetings in Dubai were specifically about and with whom these meetings were held – both entities and individuals.

The Tourism Minister did not respond to the emails sent, and did not go into detail when asked in person due to the aforementioned “confidentiality arrangements”.

“As a minister of government, I travel regularly. At the time I had different responsibilities, and the meetings related to projects and investments. That was the rationale of the meeting – it was government related business.”

He maintained that the meetings were related to “an investment to attract a special economic zone and hub to Malta”, but did not provide any details on specific businesses or individuals involved in said meetings.

When asked whether answers to further questions sent via email, as was done two weeks ago, will contain these details he said that he “will have to check the confidentiality arrangements with clients. But, essentially, yes the meetings were related to investment-related purposes.”

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