Update 2 | ‘What does Ray Zammit know about Muscat?’ – Busuttil takes government to task over inquiry ‘silence’

Opposition Leader Simon Busuttil says Ray Zammit’s protection could be because he has  information about the government and prime minister • OPM dismisses "unfounded insinuations"; Labour Party challenges PN to come clean on alleged pre-electoral meeting with Gaffarena

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil said today that the protection being given to former assistant commissioner Ray Zammit – and the government’s insistence on remaining idle in the wake of a damning inquiry report – indicates that Zammit has information about the government and the Prime Minister which the government did not want divulged.

Speaking on Radio 101 this morning, the PN leader insisted that the inquiry report by Mr Justice Michael Mallia showed a direct link between the Zammit and Gaffarena families, and that there were “dangerous links between power, money, and criminality.”

“What does Ray Zammit know about Joseph Muscat and the government, for the Prime Minister to continue protecting him in this way, and for not sacking him,” Busuttil asked while arguing that the government’s inactivity was as if nothing has happened.

Busuttil argued that the government’s “silence” on the inquiry showed that the Prime Minister “gave his blessing.”

In a statement issued by the Office of the Prime Minister, the government took umbrage at Busuttil’s “negative and one-sided” speech on the inquiry report.

“Instead of leveling unfounded insinuations, one would have expected the Leader of the Opposition to speak about the major cases investigated during Nationalist administrations. One would also expect the Opposition leader to speak about [former PN ministers] Carmelo Mifsud Bonnici and Beppe Fenech Adami while these were responsible for the police,” it said.

The Opposition leader also dismissed the warning given to Ray Zammit, arguing that this was insulting. On Saturday, MaltaToday revealed that the former police commissioner had been “warned” by Justice Minister Owen Bonnici not “to repeat such conduct,” following the findings of the inquiry report. Nevertheless, despite the warning, it seems that Zammit will stay on as head of the local enforcement agency and as the acting director at the Corradino Correctional Facility.

Despite highlighting the business links between the Zammit and Gaffarena families, Mr Justice Michael Mallia’s inquiry report held that Ray Zammit’s had not given any contribution to the Gaffarena business company, and that consequently, despite his actions being “censurable,” they were not as “entirely serious.”

“He was given a warning in the Mallia shooting case, and now you give him another one and they still do not learn,” he said. Busuttil said that the inquiry, which amongst others also revealed that Inspector Daniel Zammit had stalled the murder charge against Joe Gaffarena’s son-in-law, had decreased the public’s trust in the police force.

Consequently, he said that there needs to be an urgent change in order for people to regain trust in the political system. “This is the most corrupt government we have had since the days of Mintoff and Lorry Sant. The need for clean politics is more urgent than ever, because while people are paying their taxes, this government is using these taxes to satisfy its inner circles, “ he said.

Busuttil also pledged that the Opposition would not be corrupt itself, and that contrary to the government, it would be honest, and use the people’s money wisely, and not “spend it on corruption.” 

In its statement, the government also said that the inquiry report was sent to the Attorney General and the Commissioner of Police to take the necessary steps. On the othe rhand, the Labour Party challenged the PN to come clean on an alleged meeting with Joe Gaffarena on the eve of the 2013 election.

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