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AD hits out at 'shameful pressure' by Muscat and Busuttil on Egrant magistrate

Green Party accuses both Joseph Muscat and Simon Busuttil of exerting pressure on magistrate Aaron Bugeja 

matthew_agius
Matthew Agius
28 May 2017, 1:14pm
Alternattiva Demokratika address a press conference in front of the Mosta Rotunda
Alternattiva Demokratika address a press conference in front of the Mosta Rotunda
Alternattiva Demokratika has condemned what is said was the shameful manner in which both Labour and PN are attempting to exert pressure on an investigating magistrate.

AD chairperson Professor Arnold Cassola said it was disgraceful that both Joseph Muscat and Simon Busuttil are putting pressure on Magistrate Aaron Bugeja, who is conducting an independent inqury into allegations that Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and his Chief of Staff used an elaborate offshore corporate and banking setup to launder kickbacks.

“Joseph Muscat has arrogantly declared that if the conclusion of the inquiry isn't to his liking then this would be the magistrate's problem, who would have to carry the responsibility for it himself,” Cassola told a press conference in Mosta. “On the other hand, Simon Busuttil stated that he cannot understand how magistrate Bugeja still hasn't reached the conclusion that the two are guilty.”

These factors, together with the subsequent calling of an early election, he said, “doesnt help people give people serenity to make a decision.”

He said that these statements show that both Muscat and Busuttil were ignoring the independence of the judiciary, which should never be intimidated or conditioned by politicians whilst carrying out an investigation.

“The situation whereby both parties are trying to get the magistrate to say what they want him to say is an intolerable one,” AD Spokesperson Mario Mallia said. “The end result is diminishing trust in politics and competitive mudslinging.”

“The Prime Minister's insistence on covering for [OPM chief of staff] Keith Schembri and [minister] Konrad Mizzi because he feels they're indispensible for his project is nothing less than an offence to the sense of ethics in politics. At the same time, the leader of the opposition, who is making himself out to be ethically superior, has also shown weakness with regards shadows surrounding him.”

Mallia recounted how Busuttil was three months ago embroiled in controversy over allegedly false invoices issued by MediaLink for payments made by hotelier Silvio Debono.

“This is the same party that breached the financing laws that it had voted in favour of. It is also the same party that failed to take action against [PN deputy leader] Beppe Fenech Adami as a director of a fiduciary company that processed funds of illicit origin. This is not to mention the PN exponents who had interests in the IIP program, posing as sub agents of Henley and Partners whilst the party was opposing the system.”

Nobody had resigned over this, Mallia pointed out.

“To cast out devils, you must first be pure yourself,” Mallia said. "Two weights and two measures are at work and this is why the AD is insisting not only in ethics but also that institutions are allowed to act as checks as balances to power and not be controlled by it."

matthew_agius
Court reporter Matthew Agius is a Legal Procurator and Commissioner for Oaths. Prior to re...