The Malta Independent 17 January 2020, Friday

INDEPTH: Prime Minister should resign and should be investigated – Mark Anthony Sammut

INDEPTH online Thursday, 21 November 2019, 09:25 Last update: about 3 months ago

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat should not only resign, but also be investigated to establish the reasons as to why he decided to call an early election before information that could possibly incriminate key members of his government emerged, PN councillor Mark Anthony Sammut said on the latest episode of Indepth.

Interviewed by The Malta Independent Media Consultant Rachel Attard, Sammut questioned what Muscat had been told by his Chief of Staff Keith Schembri, who has been at the centre of corruption allegations ever since it emerged that he owned a shell company in Panama, that made him call an election a year earlier than it should have been called.

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He said that if Muscat knew of the existence of emails which revealed a connection between Schembri and businessmen like Yorgen Fenech, whose consortium bid for and eventually won a tender for the construction and operation of Malta's new power station, then he chose to follow the line of corruption as opposed to working against it.

Sammut was one of the guest on The Malta Independent's current affairs programme Indepth.  Several exponents from the Labour Party were also invited to take part in the debate. Some declined, others could not make it because of other appointments, leaving an empty chair in the studio.

Sammut said that had the Prime Minister acted as he should have when it was revealed that Mizzi and Schembri owned secret companies in Panama and removed them from office, then Daphne Caruana Galizia would still be alive.  The time of asking for the resignation of Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri is over, he said; "We now have to ask for the resignation of the Prime Minister, as he has to shoulder responsibility".

He drew comparisons with goings on in Slovakia, where journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancee were murdered in February 2018,  noting that just recently a judge had resigned because he once sent an unrelated SMS to the businessman accused of commissioning the murder, and that the country's Police Commissioner and Culture Minister had also immediately resigned. "In this country, a politician has to be found to be directly involved in the murder for him to resign", Sammut lamented.

He rejected the notion that the country rarely ever had a "resignation culture", saying that Michael Falzon had resigned, or been forced to do so, over the Gaffarena scandal, that Manuel Mallia had resigned because of the actions of his driver, that Charles Mangion had resigned because of a presidential pardon which did not pass through Cabinet, and that Chris Said had suspended himself even though he was eventually found to be innocent.

The debate comes in the wake of the arrest of Yorgen Fenech, an arrest which is believed to be connected to the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia.  Fenech is the owner of a Dubai-based company called 17 Black, with which Keith Schembri had previously admitted that he had a business plan. Leaked emails between Nexia BT's Karl Cini and Panamanian firm Mossack Fonseca revealed that 17 Black and another company, Macbridge, were the "target clients", meaning that they were a source of income, for the companies owned by Mizzi and Schembri.  The emails show that Mizzi's and Schembri's companies would receive €150,000 per month from the two companies - equivalent to €5,000 per day.


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