The Malta Independent 20 September 2020, Sunday

‘Spineless or complicit’: PN questions Edward Scicluna’s public inquiry testimony

Wednesday, 12 August 2020, 15:54 Last update: about 2 months ago

The Nationalist Party has attacked Finance Minister Edward Scicluna over his testimony in the public inquiry into the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, questioning whether he is simply spineless or actually complicit.

In his testimony, Scicluna, amongst other things, said that he had put enormous pressure on then-Prime Minister Joseph Muscat for the removal of Konrad Mizzi when the Panama Papers emerged in 2016, noting that the majority of the parliamentary group had called on Muscat to distance himself from Mizzi.

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The PN, through their spokesperson for finance Mario De Marco, was not convinced by Scicluna’s testimony however.

Such is the astonishment in front of certain replies uttered by Scicluna, that one could be justified in asking whether he was only promoted to the role of Finance Minister following Joseph Muscat’s departure”, the PN said in a scathing statement.

“Under Scicluna’s financial watch, Labour witnessed the worst scandal-ridden legislature in history, with major stories of abuse and corruption relating to the Panama Papers, money-laundering-ridden banks, uncovering of secret offshore companies and a number of shady Government-sponsored financial deals such as the Electrogas energy deal and the privatisation of Malta’s three major hospitals to a company with zero experience in health administration whose ultimate beneficial owner was never disclosed”, De Marco added.

The statement read how Scicluna “now rails against the fact that decisions were taken by an inner core, which had excluded him from, ignoring the most obvious fact that as a Finance Minister he would have signed off on most of these shady deals.” 

“He had every opportunity to express his dissatisfaction by voting accordingly but failed to do so, repeatedly. He moreover repeatedly voted his confidence in Joseph Muscat and the “inner circle” composed of Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri that he now laments of.”

“His justification today, incredibly, seemed to hint that having foregone a more remunerative job in Brussels, it was not in his interest to vote out corruption and abuse if such action would have entailed a resignation. Money before principles”, the statement continues.

“The more Scicluna seeks to detach himself from Muscat, the more he confirms that the Minister is at best, spineless and at worst, confirms that such actions were taken with his blessing”, the statement adds.

The PN said that it is no wonder that month after month, different reputable international institutions continue to place Malta among shady jurisdictions, making it an even harder task for the authorities to fight grey-listing by Moneyval, rather than focusing on a much-needed recovery for the Maltese economy.

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