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[WATCH] Busuttil ‘disgusted but not surprised’ at alleged kickbacks in Enemalta sale

Simon Busuttil questions Konrad Mizzi's 17 official visits to China in two and a half years: 'It looks like he had more work to do in China than in Malta'

tim_diacono
Tim Diacono
28 May 2017, 11:26am
Last updated on 28 May 2017, 12:26pm
Simon Busuttil addresses a political activity in Mellieha
Simon Busuttil addresses a political activity in Mellieha
 

PN leader Simon Busuttil said he is “disgusted and angered, but not surprised” at reports that the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) had flagged potential kickbacks in the partial privatization of Enemalta to Chinese state-owned Shanghai Electric Power.

Addressing a political activity in Mellieha, Busuttil warned that the political situation is “suffocating” and said the public cannot wait to vote out the government on Saturday morning

“I am angry and disgusted that I live in a country where such scandals are the order of the day, but I cannot say that I am surprised at the report,” he said. “[Minister] Konrad Mizzi and [OPM chief of staff[ Keith Schembri have dipped their fingers in every pie – from the sale of passports and visas to the purchase of the LNG tanker and now even the privatization of Enemalta.”

Citing a damning unconcluded report, the Malta Independent on Sunday reported today that kickbacks had been planned for Mizzi and SEP engineer Cheng Chen via their offshore companies in Panama and the British Virgin Islands.

In a statement, Mizzi srejected any allegations of impropriety in relation to the €320 Enemalta deal and decried the report as part of a “character assassination campaign, originally charted by blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia”.

In his speech, Busuttil zeroed in on the FIAU’s analysis of Mizzi’s credit card activity, which found that the minister had travelled to China 17 times on government business between September 2013 and March 2016. 

“Mamma mia, how much work did he have to do? It appears as though Konrad Mizzi had more work to do in China than he did in Malta, because we hardly ever see him here.”

That comment was ostensibly a dig at Mizzi’s shortage of press events since the Panama Papers scandal broke last year.

The PN leader reiterated his pledge to launch an investigation into all public contracts signed by the Labour government – including for the construction of the LNG power station in Delimara and the purchase of the LNG tanker that is berthed in Marsaxlokk as part of the power station project.

‘Times of Malta urging people to vote for Forza Nazzjonali’

In his speech, Busuttil noted that the Sunday Times of Malta in its editorial today has urged people to vote for the ‘Forza Nazzjonali’ coalition of the PN and the Partit Demokratiku.

“Such editorials urging people to vote for a specific political party are extremely rate, but we are indeed living in an extraordinary situation,” he said.

He also noted the Times’ interview with Philip Rizzo, the former CEO of the Foundation for Tomorrow’s Schools, who had warned Joseph Muscat of alleged corruption by the canvasser of education minister Evarist Bartolo. In the interview, Rizzo – a ‘switcher’ who voted for Labour in 2013 – confirmed that he will be voting for the PN next week.

“When Rizzo warned Muscat of the dirt at the education ministry, Muscat’s response was to ask him whether he would like another job,” Busuttil said. “Muscat could see the corruption, but he chose to ignore it.”