The Malta Independent 21 March 2023, Tuesday
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Speaker rules that Karl Cini is not obliged to answer Public Accounts Committee questions

Semira Abbas Shalan Wednesday, 1 February 2023, 17:47 Last update: about 3 months ago

The Speaker of the House Anglu Farrugia has ruled that former Nexia BT director Karl Cini is not obliged to answer questions which could incriminate himself before the Public Accounts Committee.

In a parliamentary sitting on Wednesday, Farrugia explained the circumstances under which a witness can refrain completely from answering questions which he, or his lawyer, thinks that might incriminate the witness before the PAC.


This was in reply to the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Darren Carabott’s request to clarify the exact scenarios in which a witness can or cannot respond to questions put to them by committees

Farrugia said that no witness is compelled to answer a question which may incriminate themselves, and they have the right to complete silence. in addition, a witness has a right to silence if the PAC is discussing an issue that the witness has been charged in court over. 

Cini was summoned to testify before parliament's spending watchdog, where he refused to answer any questions put to him by committee chairman Darren Carabott. 

Cini had repeatedly said that he would be exercising his right to silence all throughout the 35-minute hearing.

Cini is facing money laundering charges on allegations of kickbacks between Keith Schembri and former Progress Press chairman Adrian Hillman.

He said that the courts make a distinction between witnesses who are charged in criminal offences which are related to the material discussed in PAC sittings, and the witness who could incriminate themselves by answering questions put forth by the committee.

Farrugia also said that the Speaker cannot be asked to deliberate whether the witness should answer the questions or not.

The Speaker decided that each witness called before the committee and has no charges on the topic discussed, cannot be compelled to reply, Farrugia said.

He continued that the prosecution in criminal cases must investigate to find their evidence, not achieve it through coercion of the witness.

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