Opposition objects to Konrad Mizzi's nomination to head OSCE MP delegation

Government nominates former tourism minister Konrad Mizzi to head OSCE parliamentary delegation, Opposition seeks vote on the matter

Former tourism minister Konrad Mizzi
Former tourism minister Konrad Mizzi

The government has proposed Konrad Mizzi as the head of Malta’s delegation to the parliamentary assembly of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), a move which was immediately slammed by the Opposition.

The former tourism minister, who resigned his role on 26 November amid the political turmoil caused by revelations emerging from the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder case, was nominated to the post in a motion by Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne in Parliament on Monday.

The Opposition promptly objected to the nomination, with PN deputy leader David Agius calling for a formal vote on the matter, which will be held in another sitting.

Normally, such nominations do not require a formal vote in Parliament and are approved unanimously. The fact that the Opposition has called a division means each MP will have to vote on the matter.

Mizzi would be replacing Labour MP Rosianne Cutajar as head of delegation to the OSCE. Cutajar vacated her OSCE post after being appointed Equality Parliamentary Secretary in Prime Minister Robert Abela’s new cabinet. The OSCE delegation is made up of representatives from both the government and Opposition.

In 2016, Konrad Mizzi had been revealed by the Panama Papers to have been the owner of Hearnville Inc., a secret offshore company. The Panamanian company, together with Tillgate Inc., another offshore company registered in Panama and owned by former OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri, had identified the Dubai company 17 Black as their target client. 17 Black was owned by suspected Caruana Galizia murder mastermind and Electrogas power station director Yorgen Fenech.

In a statement, the Nationalist Party said that "Robert Abela's decision to appoint disgraced former Panama Papers Minister Konrad Mizzi to head Malta's delegation to OSCE is in line with Joseph Muscat's way of doing politics: promoting disgraced politicians at the expense of Malta's reputation."

Adrian Delia said that, at the same time that Malta was trying to heal from the worst political crisis in its history, Abela's government had nominated Mizzi to the OSCE.

Writing on Facebook, the PN leader said the nomination was "an insult to the Maltese people, who want that justice is immediately done with all those who had a prominent role in the irreperable damage which was done."

PN MP Claudette Buttigieg, also writing on Facebook shortly after the nomination, said naming Mizzi for the post was “an insult” and “totally unacceptable.”

Nationalist MP David Casa said on Twitter that Mizzi’s nomination showed that Robert Abela’s leadership was “simply a continuation of Joseph Muscat.”

“Not only is he [Mizzi] not facing justice, he is being promoted by [Malta’s government],” Casa said.

Casa's sentiments were mirrored by PN MP Beppe Fenech Adami, who said on Facebook that Mizzi's nomination was "evidence that nothing has changed."

More in National