The Malta Independent 16 December 2019, Monday

Updated (2): PN files parliamentary motion calling for Keith Schembri's dismissal

Wednesday, 13 November 2019, 14:40 Last update: about 2 months ago

Nationalist Party Leader Adrian Delia, on behalf of the entire PN Parliamentary Group, has filed a parliamentary motion calling on the Prime Minister to sack his chief of staff, Keith Schembri.

The PN is requesting that the motion be debated with urgency.

On Monday, Schembri dropped a libel case he had instituted against former PN leader Simon Busuttil in order to avoid answering questions on the infamous 17 Black. Schembri later said he had done so reluctantly, but insisted he was answering all questions put to him in a magisterial inquiry on the subject.

The company, which belongs to Yorgen Fenech, is one of the main shareholders of the Delimara power station.

The PN motion notes that Schembri has dropped a case he had instituted against Busuttil over allegations of corruption made by the latter. It says Schembri has made numerous attempts to avoid testifying in his own court case, despite his earlier declarations that he would use the process to clear his name.

It also notes that Schembri is named in emails "that clearly indicate that he was to receive money from 17 Black and MacBridge through his secret Panama and New Zealand companies", and that Schembri had admitted that these two companies formed part of his business plan.

The motion notes that, despite having many opportunities to do so, Schembri has never explained his actions in view of these "worrying facts" - a shortcoming that makes his position as head of the Prime Minister's staff "absolutely untenable."

It also notes that on Monday the Opposition asked the PM to immediately dismiss Schembri but the PM refused to do so.

The PN, in its motion, said Schembri's actions do not only go against the Code of Ethics for public service employees but are also in breach of the principles and standards that Parliament adopted in the Act on Standards in Public Life. In a true democracy, such actions carry political responsibilities, it said.

The House of Representatives requires that the Prime Minister shoulders the political responsibility and immediately sack Keith Schembri from his post as a senior government official.  

The motion was signed by Adrian Delia, and Deputy Leaders David Agius and Robert Arrigo on behalf of the entire Parliamentary Group.

 

PL statement

Reacting, the Labour Party said Delia's motion is built solely on the argument that he wants someone removed just because that person withdrew a libel case. With the same reasoning, the motion also applies to Delia, "because no one has dropped as many libels as he did."

The only difference, it said, is that in other cases there are ongoing magisterial inquiries while there is no such thing in the case of Delia because he was too scared to go to a magistrate.

It accused him of "giving in to Busuttil's faction", saying that, because he has not yet started to lead, he is letting others lead him into attacking himself, while thinking that he is attacking the government. 


 

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