[WATCH] Muscat: 'Schembri will resign if magistrate finds enough evidence for criminal proceedings’

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat insists that Magistrate Aaron Bugeja’s decree ‘hasn’t changed anything’, argues that new magistrate’s investigation is not ‘a criminal one’

Labour leader Joseph Muscat addresses press conference (Photo: Chris Mangion/MediaToday)
Labour leader Joseph Muscat addresses press conference (Photo: Chris Mangion/MediaToday)
Joseph Muscat on new inquiry investigating IIP kickback allegations

The Prime Minister’s chief of staff, Keith Schembri, will shoulder responsibility and resign if the magisterial inquiry finds enough evidence to order criminal steps against him, Joseph Muscat said today.

Yesterday, Magistrate Aaron Bugeja – currently leading the Egrant inquiry – issued a decree on a complaint by PN leader Simon Busuttil, who alleged kickbacks were paid to Schembri. Bugeja said that the complaint will have to be investigated by a new duty magistrate.

Asked by MaltaToday whether Schembri should step aside pending the investigation, Muscat said his chief of staff will shoulder responsibility if criminal steps are taken against him.

“Yesterday’s decree changed nothing. If the [new] magistrate finds enough evidence to proceed criminally against Schembri, he will shoulder responsibility and resign,” he said.

“Three weeks have passed since the Egrant allegations and now Simon Busuttil is washing his hands off from this fabricated story whilst PN exponents continue to repeat it.”

In follow-up questions by other reporters, Muscat reiterated that Bugeja’s decree doesn’t refer to a criminal investigation.

The decree reads that the required prerequisites for an investigation into the “in genere” of the allegations raised by Busuttil against Schembri have been satisfied.

An in genere inquiry is aimed at preserving evidence of an offence while at the same time evaluating whether any person should be charged in connection with any offence.