The Malta Independent 10 December 2019, Tuesday

PD files parliamentary petition to bring Keith Schembri before PAC

Wednesday, 13 November 2019, 13:33 Last update: about 27 days ago

Partit Demokratiku said today it has submitted a petition to the Maltese Parliament asking the Public Accounts Committee to summon Keith Schembri, Chief of Staff of the Prime Minister to answer questions about his so-called business dealings with Yorgen Fenech and 17 Black.

Keith Schembri must face the law and he must also face the citizens of Malta in respect of 17 Black, PD said in a statement. "We would have preferred had the Prime Minister taken action, as guardian of our democratic principles, but instead the Prime Minister is choosing Schembri over the people," PD said.

We are left with no other option but to petition Parliament - our highest democratic institution - to deliberate on the matter.

On Monday Schembri withdrew a libel case he had instituted against former Opposition Leader after he declined to answer questions in court, with Magistrate Victor Asciak warning Schembri that he would be sanctioned if he failed to answer.

Member of Partit Demokratiku, Matthew Mizzi, under whose name the petition has been filed, states:

"17 Black raises a fundamental question for our democracy that needs to be answered urgently: Did so-called business connections and alleged business dealings influence the decision making process at the highest level of our government?

When answering this question, our politicians must determine whether there are two categories of people in our Republic: People with access to power who can strike so-called business deals as they please and influence decisions in their favour and powerless people who simply foot the bill. 

Schembri is under investigation in respect of 17 Black. The legal process must take its course. So must the democratic process. One does not substitute the other. This is why we must reflect now, through our Parliament, on the impact that so-called business of the kind of 17 Black is having on our democracy and ultimately our Republic."

The petition is subject to approval by the Speaker of the House, following which it will be considered by the Standing Committee on Petitions which is chaired by Hon Evarist Bartolo. The petition asks the Public Accounts Committee to summon Mr Keith Schembri to answer questions about his past and contemplated so-called business dealings with Mr Yorgen Fenech, including the so-called business plan showing a planned transaction with 17 Black, a Dubai company.

The Public Accounts Committee is chaired by Beppe Fenech Adami.

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