The Malta Independent 3 December 2021, Friday

Government again refuses to condemn Konrad Mizzi’s PAC no-shows

Tuesday, 26 October 2021, 15:00 Last update: about 2 months ago

Government MPs have again refused to endorse a PN motion that condemns Konrad Mizzi’s refusals to appear before Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee.

The former special projects minister, today an independent MP, has so far failed to show up four times.

The PAC is currently debating the Electrogas power station contract.

Mizzi refused the first two summons to the committee, saying that the process was a partisan witch hunt led by the Nationalist MPs on the committee and adding that he had every right to refuse to attend given that he is still an MP.

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He said he would show up after he was summoned for a third time but later said his lawyer was not available. Mizzi was then summoned to appear before the PAC today, but said on Monday that he and his lawyer are only available from 3 November onwards.

PN MP Karol Aquilina put forward a motion calling on the committee to “condemn and deplore” Mizzi’s failure to show up for questioning but, once again, the government members argued that the motion was “nothing but a political charade.”

“We must send a message that everyone, especially an MP, should cooperate with this committee,” Aquilina argued. “This is a position we must take if we want this committee to be taken seriously,” he said, inviting the government members to “find the courage” to endorse the motion.

But the government MPs insisted that all the committee had to do was to summon Mizzi f0r next week and make sure he received the summons. Tourism Minister Clayton Bartolo sarcastically asked if the PN “press conference” was over, while Glenn Bedingfield proposed an amendment that omitted any references to condemnation of Mizzi’s action.

Committee chairman Beppe Fenech Adami insisted that the PAC must send out a clear message. “If we do not endorse this motion, it’s like we’re telling him [Mizzi] that what he did is OK. This committee has been stuck for months because of the behaviour of an MP and we cannot allow this anymore. We must have the courage not only to summon him but also to condemn his action.”

Ryan Callus (PN) said Prime Minister Robert Abela had pledged that the PL would not protect Konrad Mizzi. However, the government MPs on the PAC were defending the former minister by refusing to condemn him.

After a lengthy debate, the PN motion was defeated, while the one proposed by Bedingfield was approved.

Mizzi will now be summoned to appear before the committee on Wednesday 3 November at 2pm.

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