Fuel prices ‘funding government’s corruption’, Busuttil says

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil says Justice Minister Owen Bonnici is not worthy of being a minister after defending former police commissioner Ray Zammit

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil has today claimed that the fuel prices in Malta are robbing people to fund the government’s web of corruption.

Speaking during an interview on Radio 101, the PN leader chastised Prime Minister Joseph Muscat for employing ‘fanfare politics’ and claimed that despite the government overseeing a drop in the price of fuel prices, consumers are still being short-changed by the "ridicolous" cost of petrol and diesel. 

“Even though the international price of oil registered a sharp drop and is at an 11-year low, Malta’s prices have yet to decrease accordingly and consequently, the public is being ripped off on a daily basis,” Busuttil said.

While acknowledging that the government had in fact reduced the prices of petrol and diesel in Malta – the most recent being a “measly” 3c reduction – the PN leader said it was a travesty that the prices are not reflecting the drop in the price of oil. 

“The problem in Malta is that we have a government which is busy spending the state’s coffers to fund itself and Labour’s inner circles … there is no doubt that the government is using the fuel prices to fund its corruption,” Busuttil said.

The PN leader also had tough words in store for justice minister Owen Bonnici after the latter had “shamefully” failed to answer directly on whether he has confidence in former police commissioner Ray Zammit, who is now the head of the local enforcement agency.

On Friday, journalists were denied the chance to quiz the former police commissioner about his controversial property dealings, despite being promised that he would take questions take the press, and instead, it was up to justice minister Owen Bonnici to face the press – ending up repeatedly dodging question as to whether he or the public should have faith in Zammit.

Taking Bonnici to task and questioning whether he is fit for purpose, the Opposition leader questioned whether Zammit – whom he described as being involved in some of the worst scandals that overshadowed the Labour administration – had something over the prime minister.

“Ray Zammit has been involved in the shooting of former minister Manuel Mallia, the business links with Gaffarena, and now the acquisition of three plots of public land for €18,600. What power does this person have? Does he know something about the prime minister?” Busuttil argued.

Accusing the former police commissioner of “ignoring the rule of law and of breaking the law,” the PN leader questioned Zammit’s moral authority to lead the agency responsible for local enforcement.

The Opposition leader insisted that if the PN had been involved in some way, the Labour Party would have instantly demanded resignations. However, the same yardstick does not seem to apply for the government and the Labour Party, he said.

The Opposition leader also renewed his call for parliamentary secretary Ian Borg to resign after the latter was found to have employed “devious methods” to obtain a permit, and demanded that home affairs minister Carmelo Abela resign after a third suicide was committed by a prisoner held by the police since November.

“If the Labour Party expects the PN to honour standards of political responsibility, the government must show that it can walk the talk,” he continued.