PN leader questions minister’s involvement in €200 million health plan

Former Gozo minister Giovanna Debono shuns Gozo political activity amid ongoing investigation into Gozo free construction case • Opposition leader Simon Busuttil lambasts government for announcing €200 investment without call for expressions being made

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil has today cast doubts on the €200 million investment in the health sector, arguing that it is bizarre for the government to announce the plan when it had not yet even issued a call for expressions of interest by investors.

Addressing the Gozo faithful in Ghajnsielem, Busuttil insisted that the Opposition’s questions have remained unanswered and questioned whether energy minister Konrad Mizzi already knew of who the investors would be, despite the call still not having been made.

The PN leader pulled no punches in denouncing Mizzi’s involvement in Enemalta’s hedging agreement with state-owned Azeri company SOCAR. While criticising the minister’s “direct intervention” in the deal – which resulted in a €14 million loss by Enemalta – Busuttil questioned whether Mizzi would be directly involved in the health plan.

“When the Opposition sought to clarify on how the government could announced a €200 million investment when a call for expressions has not been issued yet. I hope that Konrad Mizzi does not already know who the investors will be,” Busuttil questioned.

A candid PN leader also argued that wherever Mizzi was involved, there were “lies and playing about with the truth.” He said that this was the same minister who promised a new power station – only for this to still be “invisible.”

The party’s political conference was also addressed by PN Secretary General Chris Said and shadow justice minister Jason Azzopardi. But, in a silence that speaks measures, former Gozo minister Giovanna Debono neither addressed nor attended the event. Her absence comes in the wake of a MaltaToday report revealing how Anthony Debono, the husband of the former Gozo minister, commissioned private contractors to carry out working for constitutes, provided them with construction material and covered their costs from the budget of the Gozo ministry.

As yet, PN leader Simon Busuttil had not suspended the former Gozo minister, but investigations are ongoing.

PN offers honest politics, serious alternative to Labour - Busuttil

Meanwhile, with the local council elections looming, Busuttil insisted that contrary to the Labour Party, the PN offers a politics built on honesty, not deceit.

“The country requires a serious and transparent alternative to the politics being practised by Joseph Muscat and this government. The PN offers honest politics and this is why it wants to make a true difference in the country,” he said.

Lambasting the government’s performance, the PN leader explained that rather than feeding the public repetition upon repetition and denouncements of what the previous administration did, the government should be more focused on the present.

“At present, the PN is built on honesty while the prime minister was caught lying on his involvement in the Café Premier scandal. Muscat said he was not involved in the deal, but the Auditor General’s report proved otherwise: Not only was Muscat involved, but there was a correspondence between the Café Premier directors and Mucat’s personal email account,” he said while also questioning the funding of Labour’s political activities.

Rallying the PN faithful, Busuttil insisted that the Opposition is making a difference in people’s lives. He said that thanks to the Opposition, the government reduced fuel prices.

“Under this government, the economy is not there to serve the people. The government has raised several taxes, while people have to do with a mere 58c increase and high fuel prices. The people are not benefiting from the economy and there is an unequal distribution of wealth,” he said.

Busuttil also said that even freedom was being undermined, and explained that people are “scared of going to PN activities because they fear reprisals.”

The PN leader argued that the country should offer equal oppurtunities and appointments should be made on account of one's abilities, and not political allegiance. He argued that Cyrus Engerer's appointment as sherpa to Joseph Muscat was only based on account of him being a "soldier of steel."

“It would be no problem if a Labourite is employed on account of his abilities, but it is wrong to employ Cyrus Engerer because he is a soldier of steel. The quality of work is not up to part and the consequences of this appointment will be borne by the country,” he added.