The Malta Independent 15 April 2021, Thursday

Watch: Information that led to Yorgen Fenech's arrest did not come from middleman - PM

Kevin Schembri Orland Thursday, 21 November 2019, 13:39 Last update: about 2 years ago

The information that led to the arrest of Yorgen Fenech did not come from the middleman who could possibly get a presidential pardon, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat told the media on Thursday afternoon.

Asked whether the middleman accepted the pardon yet, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said that questioning is still ongoing, and he has not yet received the request from the investigators and the Attorney General.

"This is one of the reasons why I am not answering all the questions as right now the person who has offered to provide information has not given the all the information yet and the pardon has not been granted yet. What has been done, is that I took the unprecedented step of signing a letter to this person's lawyers saying that once he gives the evidence, and once it is shown through further proof that it can be corroborated, I will advise the President to issue an immunity to the said person. I think that we should all keep in mind that this is a very delicate time. This is not a time where I can just speculate."

ADVERTISEMENT

Asked by The Malta Independent for any updates as to when Yorgen Fenech would be brought before the courts, giving the 48-hour time window from his arrest, Muscat said "I don't think that we should pressure the police to act in a haphazard manner. I believe that the investigators and the Attorney General are in close contact to see that even if the 48-hour time window elapses, there are ways and means to ensure that people are brought to justice. That does not mean that this will not be done within the 48-hour window. But once again, this is why we need to be very careful, because yes I concede the fact that there will be political considerations... there are political considerations to make, but right now, anything that is said will definitely not be used to close the case. The case is not yet closed, someone needs to be arraigned, someone needs to get the Presidential pardon, and my top priority is not to feed public curiosity but rather to ensure that this case is closed."

Muscat also gave his reaction to yesterday's events outside Parliament where protesters surrounded Justice Minister Owen Bonnici's car. Muscat said that what happened does not represent anyone. "It does not represent those who are genuine critics of the government and those who do not agree with me personally or with my decisions. I believe that the majority of the people in this country, and even those who do not agree with the government, do not feel represented by what happened."

"We need calm and sensibility to move ahead in a sensible manner with everyone. I understand that maybe there would be those who are nervous. We showed that in this country the institutions work and the rule of law works. The rule of law is not about who yells the loudest, but is about leaving the institutions do their job."

Asked whether his Chief of Staff Keith Schembri turned up to work this morning, Muscat said that he has not turned up to the office yet, having just come from Gozo.

Pressed and asked whether Shembri and Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi will now be removed given that people went to the streets on Wednesday evening calling for such action, Muscat would not comment on what happened that evening, "in order for my comments not to be construed as criticising one person or another. I'll just say that i do not think that the behaviour of some people yesterday reflected the thoughts of even those who are critical of me. Having said that, I will make all the necessary considerations once this case is closed, and I hope it is closed within the next 24 hours, it might be closed within the next 48 hours, it might be closed within the next couple of days. Once the case is closed I will make the necessary considerations."

The press also asked the Prime Minister to confirm that the arrest of Yorgen Fenech was not based on information given by the middleman, given that the Presidential pardon has not yet been issued. Muscat said yes. 

  • don't miss