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[WATCH] Busuttil to testify on Keith Schembri allegations tomorrow

The Nationalist Party leader insisted that Schembri was the brains behind the government and that a vote for the Labour Party meant a vote for Keith Schembri as Prime Minister 

yannick_pace
Yannick Pace
18 May 2017, 7:17pm
The PN leader insisted that a vote for the Labour Party meant a vote for Keith Schembri as Prime Minister
The PN leader insisted that a vote for the Labour Party meant a vote for Keith Schembri as Prime Minister
 

Inquiring magistrate Aaron Bugeja has accepted a request by the PN leader Simon Busuttil for him to testify on allegations of money laundering by OPM Chief of Staff Keith Schembri.

Speaking during a political activity in Nadur, Busuttil said that Bugeja had written back to him this afternoon to tell him that he had accepted his request and would be hearing his testimony tomorrow morning.

Earlier today Busuttil filed a court application, making himself available to testify once again before the magistrate over revelations from documents Busuttil claims show payments between Schembri and former Allied Group managing director Adrian Hillman

He insisted that the claims were particularly serious in light of the fact that Schembri is “the brains” behind the Muscat government, and that the Prime Minister’s refusal to sack him made it clear that the too was implicated.

“I could almost say the real Prime Minister is not Joseph Muscat, but Keith Schembri,” said Busuttil. “Those voting for the Labour Party are voting for the Keith Schembri to be Prime Minister.”

Busuttil said he was proud to represent the Nationalist Party because he said every project that made Gozo what it is today, had been implemented by a Nationalist government.

“I come here with humility and acknowledgement of the fact that we did not obtain a good result in Gozo in the last election,” said Busuttil. “My message is that we did not waste these four years. We have met and listened to people and understood where we had made mistakes.”

According to the PN leader, one of the main problems was that the PN had not been in contact with the people of Gozo. He stressed that this had been understood and that the PN was committed to becoming the party of the people.

“We can’t ask for people’s faith, if we don’t show them that, if there was a lesson to be learnt from 2013, we have learnt it. That which was wrong will not be repeated,” said Busuttil.

He pointed to the fact that the PN had published a manifesto specifically for Gozo, something no party had ever done.

“The fact that a party has a manifesto for Gozo, sends a clear message, that we care, that we are thinking specifically about you,” he continued, adding that the PN understood that realities faced by Gozitans were not the same as those faced by Maltese people.

He stressed that the PN would make the proposed permanent link between the two island a main priority.

“It is time for us to move from words to actions,” said Busuttil. “There is only one party that can complete projects in Gozo and that is the Nationalist Party.”

He said that a PN government would “find out what stage the studies are at” and immediately start work on the link.

“This is the crucial step to ensure that there is no difference between the wealth of Malta and that of Gozo,” said Busuttil. “With the beauty that there is around here Gozo deserves to have more wealth. 

To preserve Gozitan culture, following the construction of a permanent link, Busuttil said the PN was prepared to enshrine Gozo’s regional status in the constitution, adding that a regional council would be set up for Gozo.

Moreover, he said that a PN government would be budgeting €60 million for roadworks around Gozo.

Turning to the family and businesses Busuttil said the PN wanted to tackle a problem nobody wanted to talk about.

“Over time the population of Gozo and gotten progressively smaller, and many people that have gone to work in Malta and stayed there,” he said.

The PN, said Busuttil, wanted to start to reverse this trend and ensure that Gozo does not become an “old people’s home”. In order to do so, he said that if elected, the PN was proposing to give €10,000 to any couple of family that chooses to settle on the island.

Referring to a question on the proposal which was asked by Labour MP Franco Mercieca’s son during yesterday’s University debate, Busuttil said the PN wanted to increase the population of Gozo by some 10% and would be allocating €3 million a year to target 300 couples of families a year.

“It is a very innovative idea, one which has instigated a lot of discussion, and one we are promise to enact,” he said.

Furthermore, Busuttil said PN businesses setting up in Gozo would be exempt from paying tax for three years, to a maximum of €200,000.

Of the PN’s proposals, said Busuttil, the one which “struck a chord” with people was his personal pledge to give back the Gozo hospital “to the people”.

“The hospital belongs to all of us and should be returned to the Gozitan people,” he said. “As I have already announced, the second the minister for Gozo is sworn in, they must go to Gozo Hospital and tell them he was there to get our hospital back.”

Addressing the fact that there was a contract signed between the government and the hospital operators, that needed to be respected, Busuttil said he could not be held responsible since he had not seen the contract because it was heavily redacted.

“I’ll ask the Attorney General to look into maybe he’ll actually do something for a change,” said Busuttil.

He warned people against the Labour Party’s “attempts to buy votes”, and appealed to those that have “taken something” and were being told they would lose it with a change in government, that what is theirs would remain theirs.

He again insisted that in addition to the local elections, the rest of the world would be waiting to judge Malta on the outcome of the election.

“They will be voting on whether to stay in Malta or to leave, and whether to visit Malta or not”

yannick_pace
Yannick joined MaltaToday as a journalist in 2016. His main areas of interest are politics...