The Malta Independent 24 September 2021, Friday

TMID Editorial: What about Konrad Mizzi?

Wednesday, 8 September 2021, 07:37 Last update: about 16 days ago

He was presented as a rising star.

Before the 2013 election, Konrad Mizzi was put on the frontline of a Labour Party – sorry, movement – that was sure of an overwhelming electoral victory.

It eventually arrived, and Mizzi was immediately entrusted with the energy sector. He had been the one to present to Malta how Labour intended to revolutionise the way energy was produced and distributed. It followed, almost naturally, that he took it under his wing once the PL was in power. Soon, the health portfolio was added to his duties. He became party deputy leader too.

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With Joseph Muscat as Prime Minister, Konrad Mizzi had the backing that probably no other minister in the same cabinet had. Sure enough, when the Panama Papers scandal broke, and Mizzi was caught having secretly opened a company there along with the (former) chief of staff at the OPM, Keith Schembri and the infamous “Egrant”, Muscat was there to defend them. The three appeared to be a closely-knit unit.

When, facing more pressure, Muscat finally decided to do something, Mizzi was stripped of the energy and health portfolio but remained a minister in the OPM, at Castille. He lost the party second-in-command post too. He was nonetheless re-elected – no wonder there are some who speak of “Gahan” – and reappointed minister, this time for tourism, only to have to resign again, a few weeks before his master did.

Even here, Muscat tried to keep him in the loop with a contract as adviser to the Tourism Ministry Mizzi had just abandoned and which Muscat had taken over. The contract was terminated within weeks after public outcry, after the change in the PL leadership.

In his years as minister, Mizzi was involved in a series of controversial issues that we still speak about today. The Montenegro wind farm and the deal to transfer three public hospitals to the private sector are two of the bigger ones.

His star faded as soon as Muscat was no longer there to protect him. Muscat’s successor, Robert Abela, chose to dismiss Mizzi from the Labour Party six months after taking office. Mizzi’s expulsion was not a judgment of his legal position, Abela had said, but one of a political nature. Mizzi has since remained as an independent MP, but his political career is over.

Mizzi has kept under the radar for the past months. Parliamentary attendance sheets expose him as being among the MPs who have missed most sessions without justification.

Whether he is still on the police radar is not known.

Some time ago, Mizzi had been interrogated by the police financial crimes unit. But no charges were ever presented against him in court, unlike his Panama Papers colleague Schembri, who is facing accusations of money laundering and corruption.

The question is: is Mizzi still being investigated?

The police do not normally speak about their investigations, believing that anything they say could hinder their work. Each time the media has tried to ask questions on certain delicate cases, the answer that comes back is that the police do not reveal who they are keeping under the spotlight.

Yet, here we are and we ask it again: is Mizzi still being investigated?

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