Opposition contests Speaker’s ruling that bars standards committee from probing Joseph Muscat

Opposition spokespersons Karol Aquilina and Carm Mifsud Bonnici say Speaker’s ruling that standards committee cannot act against Joseph Muscat goes against the spirit of the law

Joseph Muscat cannot be probed by parliament's standards committee because he is no longer an MP, the Speaker ruled. The ruling is now being contested by the Opposition.
Joseph Muscat cannot be probed by parliament's standards committee because he is no longer an MP, the Speaker ruled. The ruling is now being contested by the Opposition.

The Opposition is contesting Speaker Anġlu Farrugia’s ruling that parliament’s standards committee has no jurisdiction over former prime minister Joseph Muscat.

In a motion presented in parliament, Opposition spokespersons Karol Aquilina and Carm Mifsud Bonnici said the ruling rendered the standards committee powerless in the face of individuals accused of obstructing justice and abusing power.

He called for a revision of the ruling delivered last Monday because it failed to honour the spirit of the law.

Farrugia ruled that the law precluded the standards committee from taking any action against Muscat since he was no longer an MP.

The committee had adopted a report by Standards Commissioner George Hyzler, which found that Muscat abused his power when appointing ex-minister Konrad Mizzi as an MTA consultant in December 2019. However, government MPs on the committee insisted that it could not summon Muscat or sanction him since he was now a private citizen.

The Opposition said the Speaker’s ruling gives individuals accused of abuse of power an easy way out to avoid shouldering the burden of political responsibility and allows them to get away scott free.   

The PN MPs said the ruling reinforced the impunity reigning within the highest institutions of the country. The Opposition believe that this is causing great harm to the democratic system, and the ruling falls short of honouring the values and the spirit of the law setting up the Standards Commissioner.

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