Busuttil: We must rewrite our country’s history

Despite calls for united front, the Prime Minister had not asked for a meeting to discuss the Malta Files, insisted Simon Busuttil

Nationalist Party leader Simon Busuttil
Nationalist Party leader Simon Busuttil

Nationalist Party (PN) leader Simon Busuttil has said that the whole country could feel that the country was going through a very “particular moment” in the run up to the forthcoming election, and that that which was at stake was more than a simple choice of government.

“We must choose to rewrite the history of country,” he said. “This is why thousands of people are coming to the meetings organised by this Forza Nazzjonali.”

He said that over the past 24 hours, the country’s reputation had been dragged through the mud over the whole of Europe and the world at a time when Malta held the rotating presidency of the European Council. A time, he said, when the spotlight was on the country, which had the opportunity to show what it was capable of.

“Instead we are in the international news, for all the wrong reasons,” he said, referring to a leak of over 100,000 documents, spanning 10 years of activity, from the Malta Financial Services Authority’s company registry.

The documents were published over the weekend by the EIC.network together with MaltaToday and 12 other international media outlets.

Busuttil stressed that while the accusations levelled at Malta, that it acts as a tax haven, were factually incorrect, they had been spread very quickly because they came at a time when Malta’s credibility and its ability to defend itself were at an all-time low.

“The government that is meant to be defending us is itself drowning in corruption. How can [Prime Minister] Joseph Muscat defend us against allegations of corruption if he is himself corrupt,” said Busuttil, adding that the said the PN was deeply hurt by what was happening.

“The Prime Minister yesterday appealed for national unity,” he continued. “If he really wanted unity - which I am ready to offer - he could at least have called me up yesterday to ask for a meeting or a discussion.”

The PN leader argued that the Prime Minister had not even broached the subject with him at a debate the two leaders were present at yesterday.

“Even on something this crucial, he doesn’t bother working in the national interest,” said Busuttil, adding that he would be the one to ask for cross-party collaboration instead.

“I am promising that if the nation gives me its faith, and the privilege to run the country as Prime Minister, I will immediately take concrete action to fight and overcome the damage being done to Malta,” he said.

Busuttil said that while he had already named a number of proposals and concrete measures on how to protect the financial services sector, he would be giving a more detailed explanation on Monday.

Busuttil insisted once again that the government and Labour party had been taken over by a few corrupt individuals.

“Their mark is the mark of corruption. They are three people that have closed their eyes to corruption and were even active participants or accomplices in corruption,” Busuttil said.  

He underscored that the fact that the accusations being made about the OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri, were criminal acts that had previously never been associated with the government.

Describing the revelations thus far as the tip of the iceberg, Busuttil said the fact that it had been showed that transactions had taken place between Schembri and former Times of Malta managing director Adrian Hillman dating as far back as 2010 shows that that Muscat was corrupt both in government, as well as when in opposition.

Busuttil paid tribute to the “courageous people” who he said had come forward with information, at great risk to their families and their livelihood and hit out at the Muscat administration, who he said had “hijacked” the country’s institutions which were now moving to investigate those exposing corruption, rather than those committing it.

He questioned who could have asked for an investigation into who was leaking documents to the PN.

“I said yesterday that it must be one of Muscat’s puppets, and now we learn from news reports that it was the FIAU that made the complaint,” he said.  “It has been investigating Keith Schembri for the past year and now it seems that it has also been taken over and stifled.”

MaltaToday on Sunday reported that yet another magisterial inquiry in underway, headed by magistrate Doreen Clark, after a complaint was lodged by the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) over reports published in the Times of Malta and the Malta Independent on its compliance reports on Pilatus Bank.

He said that the agency was run by the Attorney General who he appealed to do the right thing.

“We know you. We put you there. We know they have put pressure on you. We know they have scared you. We know they made you do that which your conscience did not want to do, but now in the name of what is right, do let them use you any longer. Do what is in the national interest and respect your oath of loyalty towards the constitution,” said Busuttil.

He said that what was happening was clearly showed that the country needed a change in direction, adding that all citizens had the responsibility to speak up and make their concerns heard.

“Together we can carry this responsibility towards our country and its people,” concluded Busuttil.