[WATCH] Busuttil challenges FIAU to publish unconcluded report

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil says that it would be ‘beyond shocking’ if claims that minister Konrad MIzzi and the prime minister’s chief of staff had received kickbacks on the purchase of the LNG tanker were true

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil
Opposition leader Simon Busuttil

The Financial Intelligence and Analysis Unit should immediately publish a report - which it had compiled and which had yet to be concluded - on an investigation into whether minister Konrad Mizzi and the prime minister's chief of staff Keith Schembri received kickbacks from the purchase of the LNG tanker berthed at the LNG power plant in Delimara, opposition leader Simon Busuttil insisted this morning.

At a press conference in Attard, Busuttil suggested that the FIAU was possibly being held back from publishing its investigations before the election.

He was adamant when confronted with the FIAU's disavowal of documents published in the Malta Independent yesterday, which claimed that the FIAU had compiled a report that showed there was enough evidence to prove that the owners of the tanker had transferred money to a Dubai-based compay created for the purpose of transferring kickbacks to the Energy Minister Mizzi and the chief of staff.

“I have a challenge for the FIAU. If you are so convinced about your report, publish it now...I would not be surprised at all to learn that a government agency was prevented from completing an investigation during an electoral campaign, especially when that investigation is pointing towards Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri also making money on the LNG tanker deal,” he said.

“I therefore promise, that I, the PN and Forza Nazzjonali, if given the trust of the Maltese people next week, will immediately call upon the FIAU to conclude their investigation into this case without delay. We will also naturally involve the police in this investigation.”

The PN leader pledged to order the FIAU and the police to investigate reports of corruption involving Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri in the LNG tanker deal “immediately after taking the oath of office,” calling the new allegations “beyond shocking.”

“This is beyond shocking, it is disgusting. If it emerges that they were benefited from the tanker deal, this is a criminal act,” Busuttil said, pointing out that the tanker was not on Labour's previous electoral manifesto, and accusing Labout of selling out the residents of Marsaxlokk and Zejtun.

The Attorney General also came under fire for not ordering the immediate conclusion and publication of the report. “The AG is terrified of these people and does their bidding. You don't expect this from an Attorney General who is leading the FIAU. Instead of uncovering criminality, he is covering it up.”

On the allegations about PN deputy leader Mario De Marco's ownership of an offshore company in Cyprus, Busuttil said this was "another lie" made by Muscat. De Marco is not the owner, but the director of a company in Cyprus, a professional service he carried out as a lawyer, explained the PN leader. He invited journalists to refer to De Marco's Parliamentary declaration of assets which shows that he had declared his interests from the outset.

He accused Muscat of having double standards, arguing that in the various inquiries into Labour politicians Muscat had appointed magistrates, “one of whom is an ex-Labour candidate,” but when it came to investigate PN deputy leader Beppe Fenech Adami, Muscat had appointed a panel of three judges.

Beppe Fenech Adami had been investigated by three judges, one of whom was Philip Sciberras, who had publicly criticised Busuttil, and yet nothing had been found, Busuttil remarked.

“The Prime Minister is denying known facts,” Busuttil said. “The inquiry found absolutely nothing.”

He scoffed at the Prime Minister's claims, made on Xarabank yesterday, to have “damning” evidence on Fenech Adami in hand which only recently came into his possession. “Who are you trying to fool?” he asked.