The Malta Independent 28 January 2023, Saturday
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Muscat among people reassured by Fenech that messages had been deleted - Repubblika

Tuesday, 9 November 2021, 10:26 Last update: about 2 years ago

Yorgen Fenech had assured Joseph Muscat that he had deleted all text messages between them when the former lost his phone in 2018, Repubblika claimed on Tuesday.

It emerged over the past few days that the 17 Black owner had lost his mobile phone while visiting the United States late in 2018. He had then messaged several people, including Konrad Mizzi, telling them that he had “deleted Whatsapp.”

Repubblika president Robert Aquilina revealed on Tuesday that the former PM was among the people that had received this reassurance by Fenech.

Aquilina was addressing a press conference in front of the Financial Crimes Investigation Department (FCID) in Hamrun. The NGO later filed a formal request for the police to investigate Muscat after revelations on Sunday that he had been paid €60,000 by a company that was linked to the hospitals concession deal.

“The story has a strong stench of money laundering. We are sure that the people at the FCID have smelled it … so what are they waiting for to investigate Muscat?

“No one believes that Muscat got the money for work he carried out after he resigned as Prime Minister. No one believes that it was only a coincidence that the Pakistani lawyer who paid him was also asked for advice by Yorgen Fenech on how to secretly transfer money out of 17 Black.”

Aquilina said Repubblika expects the impunity that Muscat enjoys to end, “just as we want the impunity enjoyed by Konrad Mizzi to end. We will no longer tolerate banal excuses by Gafa and the FCID.”

The police report included a copy of the Times report, in which two former directors of the company that had paid Muscat said they were willing to cooperate with the police.

Since the two are based in the UK, the NGO called on the police commissioner to set up a Joint Investigation Team with the British police to be able to interview them.

They hoped that an investigation would be launched “without any dragging of feet” and that it would leave no stone unturned.

 

‘Muscat’s fingerprints’

Aquilina said he was sure that Konrad Mizzi had not been made a PL star candidate “because he impressed Muscat during an interview. And he was not given the Electrogas project “because of his technical talents.”

He was not made Health Minister “because he knows medicine, but so that the corrupt Vitals deal could take place.”

Mizzi’s Panama Papers ‘punishment’ was to be given a ministry in Castille, which was in charge of multi-million-euro projects, he said.

“We have no doubt that if the police investigate these corruption cases, including those involving Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri, they would find Joseph Muscat’s fingerprints.”

“Muscat’s place is in prison,” Aqulina said.

 

No corruption prosecutions

During the press conference, Repubblika criticised the FCID for failing to prosecute anyone linked to scandals that took place under the Muscat administration, including the Panama Papers and linked FIAU reports.

It also demanded answers on the status of the suspension of former financial crimes unit head Ian Abdilla, who was suspended and replaced by Assistant Commissioner Alexandra Mamo.

“A year and a half after his dismissal, we have still not seen any prosecutions related to these cases. When Alexandra Mamo was made in charge of the FCID, we gave them time to work and we pledged our cooperation. But days have turned into weeks, and weeks have turned into months, and we have heard nothing yet about the long list of people who are clearly considered in here to be untouchables.”

Aquilina said no one has been charged in court over the corruption that took place during the Muscat administration, not even after the group’s three-day protest in front of the police HQ last month. “If Gafa, Mamo and the Attorney General think that we will stop there, they are gravely mistaken.”

He said that Repubblika has recently received information about things that were going on between Yorgen Fenech and certain public officials appointed by Muscat.

“We are aware that the police have received text messages that show not only a high degree of closeness between Fenech and these officials but also that they were acting as his subordinates.”

These include well-known names like Frederick Azzopardi, James Piscopo, Heatchliff Farrugia, Joseph Cuschieri and Johann Buttigieg.

“What stage have the investigations into these people reached? Or are they untouchables too?”

 

Police report

 

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