Police were hasty in charging Seabank directors – Busuttil

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil says no reason had been given for the IVF law reform

Nationalist party leader Simon Busuttil
Nationalist party leader Simon Busuttil

Nationalist Party leader Simon Busuttil has said that the Seabank Hotel’s company directors had been charged by police for the involuntary murder of a worker who died during construction works, to hasten proceedings and “brush off” suggestions of stalling the investigation.

Busuttil was speaking on RTK radio, commenting on charges issued against MP Francis Zammit Dimech, a non-executive director at the time of 27-year-old Maksims Artamonovs’s death while working on the extension of the Seabank Hotel.

Busuttil said there was no reason for him to take any action against Zammit Dimech, who despite the charges against him was “two steps away from the actual culprits”, referring to the construction firm that employed Artamonovs.

Busuttil said that no action would be taken against Zammit Dimech until the court pronounces its judgement on the involuntary homicide.

He compared the case to charges against Justice Minister Owen Bonnici, who was allowed to stay on as minister despite being accused of causing a traffic accident in which a man was injured.

On another subject, this time government’s plans to reform the Embryo Protection Act to include embryo freezing in IVF services, Busuttil said that “no reason” had been given for the legal change.

He said Malta’s success rates with egg freezing were comparable to the UK’s, “whose IVF life is a liberal one, but no one has explained why this change is going to occur, and the law has only been with us for one year, so assessing its effectiveness might be particularly difficult,” Busuttil said, questioning why there hadn’t even been a discussion to understand what the experts thought on the matter.

Busuttil criticised the government’s lack of transparency, accusing it of trying to brush off any criticism by calling PN “negative”. “In a democracy, it is essential to listen to both sides of the argument.”

On Thursday Busuttil called for an inquiry into the granting of residency permits and visas, over concerns about the residency permit scheme and allegations that former Labour Party treasurer Joe Sammut, who faces criminal charges, was creating fake companies to enable Libyan visa holders to gain residency in Malta.

Busuttil pointed out that some 14,000 residency permits had been issued in one year, “which equals the arrivals of refugees Malta has experienced in the past 10 years.”

He stressed that these scandals were a direct result of placing people close to the party in positions of power rather than people who were qualified.

Busuttil also discussed the PN’s plans to become “an alternative to the current government,” saying a document outlining his policy for clean politics, transparency, meritocracy and accountability will be published later this year as a response to the scandals that plagued this administration’s first two years in government.