The Malta Independent 14 April 2021, Wednesday

Bernard Grech expects ‘more criminals’ to be exposed following recent arraignments

Bettina Borg Sunday, 21 March 2021, 15:55 Last update: about 23 days ago

Opposition Leader Bernard Grech has said the "there is a lot of truth" that needs to come out to "expose criminals" closely involved with the Labour Party, following the arraignment of Keith Schembri and 10 other people last Saturday.

Grech addressed the whirlwind of events that unfurled last Saturday during an interview with Lovin Malta's founder Chris Peregrin aired on Net TV. The interview was focused on the theme 'A New Page for our Country'.

ADVERTISEMENT

Grech said that Schembri's case was brought to the fore, not thanks to the institutions, but thanks to the Civil Society and the Nationalist Party that fought tooth and nail to ensure that the procedures would start. Simon Busuttil was a crucial member of this group, Grech said, "as he had the courage to show that the eight box files he presented in court back in 2017 were not empty, but full of evidence of Schembri's ties to money laundering and corruption."

Former OPM Chief of Staff Keith Schembri was charged in court with money laundering, corruption and forgery. Schembri was one of 11 people arraigned. The 11 were arraigned in connection with a recently concluded magisterial inquiry in connection to allegations surrounding Schembri and former Allied Newspaper managing director Adrian Hillman and another magisterial inquiry.

 Turning to the Caruana Galizia murder investigation and trial, Grech said that Abela's silence in Daphne Caruana Galizia's murder is inhibiting the entire truth from emerging.

While it is crucial for the PM to give attention to the Caruana Galizia case, Grech said that the attention also needs to come from the institutions, independently of the PM.

"Why is it that the Prime Minister has to do something for the institutions to work? They are the ones who have to work and have the backing of the law to do so, without the intervention of the Prime Minister", he said.

Asked if he expects Joseph Muscat to be next in court, Grech said that he doesn't want the public to assume that he is happy that the accused are being sent to prison, but rather that he is pleased that the courts are functioning well and bringing people to justice. "If Muscat is brought to court, it's only right for him to go, in the same way it would only be right for me to go if I was in the same position", Grech said.

Grech was also asked about Vince Muscat's request for a second presidential pardon. If he were PM, he would grant Muscat the pardon because "no person should be hidden from justice", he said. Vince Muscat has claimed that a sitting minister was involved in a 'big job', but has not revealed any further details on the matter.

"All the MPs and ministers in the Labour Party have defended criminals in the past. This needs to stop in the present", Grech said.

He also said he will continue to confront any blind eye that the PL turns toward corruption.

Grech said that anyone is susceptible to an investigation if they have been involved in illegal activity, including members of the PN.

He said that if any investigation were to reveal that someone within the party may have been involved in a crime, then Grech would be determined to see that justice be done.

Fair news coverage

There has never been as strong a party division in news coverage as there has been since the PL was elected in 2013, Grech said. As PM, Grech said he will ensure that no one who has worked closely with the Prime Minister will be allowed to work within the Public Broadcasting Service. He wishes to move away from Malta being viewed as "a country divided by red blue" and instead move towards it being viewed as a country "where children believe that education is based on critical thinking".

He was asked about the fact that Net TV has held back from publishing their accounts for 17 years, to which Grech said that the station has plans to file its accounts as it is their duty. He said he is unable to give a date as to when the accounts will be published. Incidentally, he also urged One TV to publish their own accounts.

Covid-19

Grech said he is happy to see the government implementing ideas which the PN suggested to curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus - most notably that doctor services are utilized more within the community.

He called for better screenings in ports and airports, particularly for those visitors coming in from Sicily, as they are not obliged to present a negative test to be able to enter the country. "This leaves an open door for the variants to enter Malta", Grech said.

Lastly, Grech said that the PN's mission is to make sure that the economy keeps flourishing throughout the pandemic in order to avoid an economic recession. "The PL's poor handling of the pandemic has resulted in restaurants working excessively to stay afloat and, in some cases, having no choice but to close their doors. This is the result of an incompetent government", he said.

 


  • don't miss