The Malta Independent 14 April 2021, Wednesday

PM needs to shoulder political responsibility and apologise to the public – PN

Tuesday, 6 April 2021, 16:26 Last update: about 7 days ago

Prime Minister Robert Abela needs to take political responsibility and apologise to the general public on behalf of the Labour Party, the Nationalist Party said on Tuesday afternoon.

The press conference, led by PN candidates Paula Mifsud Bonnici and Ivan J Bartolo, addressed how the recent cases of corruption in Malta – most notably the money laundering and corruption charges against Keith Schembri, who was granted bail by court on Monday morning – are tarnishing Malta’s reputation and giving it and politics as a whole a bad name.

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“People think politics means abuse; a means for making fun of people”, Mifsud Bonnici said. “But politics should be a place for good, where the common good is put above everything else”.

Mifsud Bonnici said that the current government is ruining politics in Malta because it is a government which “steals” and keeps the interest of the few at heart rather than the common good of the country.

She said that the fact that “Abela has not apologised or taken any form of action against those who have dirtied politics” is a major problem that needs attention as soon as possible.

While Keith Schembri was not in office during Abela’s term as PM, it should not be forgotten that Abela was legal consultant to ex-PM Joseph Muscat, Mifsud Bonnici noted.

She said that Abela “must first shoulder his political responsibility and then formally make an apology” as President Emeritus Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, who called on the Labour Party to apologize to people who bought into its purported moral credentials, said.

She continued that Abela also has a duty to apologise to the Maltese and Gozitan citizens who voted for the PL because they perceived it as a party that kept workers and the vulnerable at heart, not as a party that gave the green light to corruption and money laundering.

By not apologising, Mifsud Bonnici said that Abela is “putting all those who did wrong in a better position today”.

Bartolo continued from Mifsud Bonnici’s remarks by saying that the Maltese need to put their political discrepancies aside and unite together to ensure that justice is brought to those did wrong in the PL.

“This is not a time to wave the Labour Party’s flag or the Nationalist Party’s flag. This is a time to unite together and wave the Maltese flag”, he said.

This “terrible patch” we are passing through is “ruining our serenity, our prosperity, our integrity and our collective right to live in a normal country”, Bartolo noted.

Like Mifsud Bonnici, he urged the Labour Party to formally apologise for their actions, however he added that the general public “should not be naïve and think that the country will change if the Labour Party simply makes an apology”.

He concluded the conference by saying that the PN can provide the integrity, transparency and honesty that the Maltese feel they are lacking under the PL’s governance. He added that the PN wishes to establish new economic sectors which will benefit the public and ensure that the individual, not partisan politics, remains at the centre of the country’s interests.

Schembri was in granted bail together with his father Alfio Schembri, a director of several of Kasco companies, and business partner Malcolm Scerri and financial controller Robert Zammit. The magistrate decreed that there was enough evidence to place the four accused men under a bill of indictment.

In tandem, Nexia BT partners Brian Tonna and Karl Cini were granted bail immediately after the PN’s press conference this afternoon. Tonna and Cini were charged with money laundering and pleaded not guilty.

Both Tonna and Cini were granted bail against 60,000 and a personal guarantee of 90,000. They are prohibited from travelling overseas, approaching the airport and must stay 10m away from the coast.

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