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PN wants Muscat to dismiss Konrad Mizzi, Keith Schembri

PN executive committee president Ann Fenech says people 'disgusted' by Panama affair

Miriam Dalli
3 March 2016, 2:17pm
PN executive committee president Ann Fenech (left) and electoral candidate Alessia Psaila Zammit
PN executive committee president Ann Fenech (left) and electoral candidate Alessia Psaila Zammit
The Nationalist Party is demanding the resignation of the Prime Minister's chief of staff and the Energy Minister after the two admitted to each holding an offshore company in Panama.

Addressing a press conference at the PN headquarters, the PN's executive committee president Ann Fenech criticised Muscat for coming out in defence of his chief of staff, Keith Schembri, and energy minister Konrad Mizzi. The latter will be closing off the Panama company as soon as an audit by the tax commissioner is carried out.  

"This is not a credible government and people are demanding an explanation on why these two chose a secretive jurisdiction," she said.

Fenech argued that both Schembri and Mizzi had utilised the same structure.

"People are disgusted by the choice of Panama, a country know for its secrecy laws. Why were the companies set up in the same period?" she asked.

She insisted that "the problem started when the Prime Minister, the energy minister and Muscat's chief of staff went to Azerbaijan unaccompanied by civil servants".

Reacting to Muscat's comments that he would have attended Sunday's corruption process had it not been organised by the Nationalist Party - he argued that PN leader Simon Busuttil was the "wrong man to lead it" - Fenech commented that she "pitied" the Prime Minister.

"I almost feel sorry for him ... it makes what happened [over 25 years] look like sins committed by altar boys."

Fenech also strongly defended the over €1 million direct orders received by Fenech & Fenech - of which she's a managing partner - under PN administrations.

She argued, that the direct orders were meritocratic. "The direct orders were justified ... I didn't take any direct orders, it was the firm that did. If you look at our company you realise that its expertise is sought by multinational companies, so why not by the government?"

Fenech went on to add that even the current Labour government sought her expertise in maritime services.

Asked whether cabinet members, MPs and public officials in high ranking positions should be barred from having any offshore interests or foreign bank accounts, Fenech argued that such individuals should always choose structures that allow for scrutiny.

In a reaction, the Labour Party noted that Fenech has “admitted” to the current government being meritocratic because she was being sought by the government for professional advice.

The Labour Party also said that Fenech has helped her clients open companies in Panama. Asked during the press conference whether she would refuse clients from Panama, Fenech replied no.

The PL sarcastically noted that, for Fenech, there would be nothing wrong in Panama companies, “only if she is involved”.

Responding to the PL statement, Fenech once again categorically rejected the claim that she ever formed any companies in Panama, and added that she would be instituting libel proceedings against the party.

Miriam Dalli graduated in communications studies from the University of ...