The Malta Independent 17 May 2022, Tuesday

Speaker says that MPs should show ‘caution’ in how they frame their questions after PAC debacle

Albert Galea Thursday, 27 January 2022, 16:39 Last update: about 5 months ago

Speaker Anglu Farrugia has ruled that members of the Public Accounts Committee must conduct themselves in an orderly manner and exhibit “caution” in how they frame their questions.

The ruling comes at the request of Konrad Mizzi, who claimed that the committee had become a hostile environment for him owing to insinuations made by the PN MPs on the committee while they posed their questions.

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In his ruling, Speaker Anglu Farrugia said that from the minutes of the four previous meetings of the committee he had noted several instances where insults had been exchanged between Konrad Mizzi and certain PN members of the board.

He noted how Konrad Mizzi had continually called Beppe Fenech Adami “his royal highness” in one sitting, insinuated that Fenech Adami felt he had a divine right to do as he pleased owing to the position of his father a former President and Prime Minister, and also accused the PN MP of being complicit in drug trafficking in the Capital One case.

He noted how Fenech Adami had repeatedly accused Mizzi of being corrupt and of receiving the equivalent of €5,000 per day from the owner of the company 17 Black, who was Yorgen Fenech – the man accused of masterminding the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Farrugia also noted how PN MP Karol Aquilina had told Mizzi that he was going to jail and that he was going to take pleasure and satisfaction in visiting him there when he does.

Farrugia said that the use of objectionable wording without an apology is a breach of the code of behaviour that parliamentarians have to follow.

He noted that while the chairperson of the committee – who is Fenech Adami himself – was responsible for ensuring that the committee’s work proceeds in an orderly manner, there were occasions where he and his colleague Aquilina had made certain offensive remarks or allegations to Mizzi, which in turn instigated a less than gracious reaction from Mizzi himself.

Farrugia said that the committee’s chairperson must be the first to lead the committee by example in his conduct and ensure that order is kept.

“Without going into the merits of the comments made, the Speaker rules that any member of the committee is free to pose objective questions on the report in question and must use caution in their word while also being in full observance of the rules and guidelines of the House,” Farrugia ruled.

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