Busuttil gives Muscat 24 hours to ‘shoulder responsibility’ for Panama offshore companies

Opposition leader hints at motion of no confidence unless Muscat shoulders political responsibility over the next 24 hours

Simon Busuttil (Photo:Ray Attard)
Simon Busuttil (Photo:Ray Attard)

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil has hinted at a possible motion of no confidence unless Prime Minister Joseph Muscat shoulders political responsibility by resigning over revelations on the offshore company in Panama that energy minister Konrad Mizzi has admitted to have set up, as well as for reports that the PM’s chief of staff Keith Schembri has a similar offshore network set up.

“If he does not [shoulder political responsibility] I will announce within the coming days the actions that PN could take,” Busuttil said, without expressly mentioning a parliamentary move.

Busuttil, in a phone-in to party radio station 101 FM, delivered a scathing attack on Castille, accusing Muscat of defending both Mizzi and Schembri.

Mizzi has declared owning a Panamanian firm which is owned by the trustees of a New Zealand trust whose beneficiaries are his family. His ownership is kept confidential under Panama laws. Schembri was also reported to have a similar structure by Malta Independent columnist Daphne Caruana Galizia in her personal blog.

“If it is confirmed that the same consultant set up this offshore set-up at the same time, it would be a case of enormous gravity. It would mean the prime minister has been aware of this for all this time, if not personally involved,” Busuttil said.

Busuttil accused the Labour government of being stuck in a ‘crisis of corruption’.

“It’s hard to express my disgust. I am being proven right, that the Café Premier and Gaffarena scandals were only the tip of the iceberg, and that we have a mafia inside Castille... this government is rotten to the core.”

The PN leader also gave short shrift to reassurances from Konrad Mizzi that he would submit his offshore’s financials to the Commissioner of Inland Revenue for an annual audit. “He should go the Commissioner of Police instead,” Busuttil quipped.

“Our judgement is clear – they have gone beyond all limits, another proof of the crisis of corruption in Muscat’s government, and the loss of all moral authority to run this country.

“People are disgusted and angry at what is happening. It should not only lead to [Mizzi and Schembri’s] resignation, but to that of Muscat himself,” Busuttil said.

More in National