Prime Minister’s chief of staff files police complaint against Opposition leader

Joseph Muscat’s chief of staff, Keith Schembri, filed police complaint against outgoing PN leader Simon Busuttil over ‘fabrications, calumny and lying under oath’ • Busuttil pledges 'to fight for democracy'

The Prime Minister's chief of staff, Keith Schembri
The Prime Minister's chief of staff, Keith Schembri

The Prime Minister’s chief of staff, Keith Schembri, has filed a police report (kwerela) against Opposition leader Simon Busuttil.

According to the Labour media, the police report was presented to the Police Commissioner by his two lawyers, Edward Gatt and Mark Vassallo. ONE reports that Schembri’s lawyers believe that Busuttil had resorted to “fabrications and calumny”, as well as accusing him of lying under oath.

In a statement issued through the Department of Information, Schembri said he asked the Police to ascertain whether it can investigate Busuttil. Schembri also urged Busuttil “to stop lying” and to present the evidence he claims to have against him.

In a reaction, Busuttil said he will "fight for democracy".

"So now they want to use the Police against me for standing up to their corruption. I have news for them: I will fight for democracy," he tweeted.

Nationalist MP Chris Said, who is running for PN leader, also issued a statement. "You have to be without shame to attempt to tarnish Busuttil with lying under oath. Or you must be Keith Schembri. Instead of leaving government after being caught red-handed with a secret Panama company, Schembri is trying to tarnish Busuttil. With me as party leader, Schembri, Konrad Mizzi and Joseph Muscat will find no shelter. I will not be their accomplice with my silence. I will fight corruption inside Castille with all my strength. I have no problem in standing up to Schembri and his mates."

The action is in reply to the latest court applications filed by the outgoing PN leader, in which he is asking for fresh inquiries into the Panamanian accounts held by Schembri and, now, tourism minister Konrad Mizzi.

Busuttil’s application seeking a criminal investigation into the two, refers to a December 2015 email in which audit firm Nexia BT gives the go-ahead to open bank accounts for offshore companies belonging to the two PEPs, despite Panamanian bank BSI requiring minimum deposits of $1 million a year. 

Both Schembri and Mizzi have stated that no accounts had been opened for the Panama companies.

Schembri has argued that Busuttil’s court request is legally unsustainable “and a weak political attempt to save his political career”.

The Police must now consider Schembri’s request.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, Schembri, Mizzi, Nexia BT partners Brian Tonna and Karl Cini, former Allied managing director Adrian Hillman, and Kasco Ltd general manager Malcolm Scerri have until today to make their submissions in reply to Busuttil’s court application.