[WATCH] Busuttil says police must investigate government contracts, ‘Mizzi and Schembri must be sacked’

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil calls on police, Financial Intelligence Unit to investigate all government contracts which crossed the path of Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri • PN tells thousands of protestors that ‘enough is enough’ and insists he would not tolerate any corruption

PN leader Simon Busuttil addressing the crowd during the PN's protest against corruption • Photos: Ivan Consiglio
PN leader Simon Busuttil addressing the crowd during the PN's protest against corruption • Photos: Ivan Consiglio
PN tells protestors that ‘enough is enough’ and insists he would not tolerate any corruption (Video: Ivan Consiglio)

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil today called on the Prime Minister to sack energy minister Konrad Mizzi and chief of staff Keith Schembri, for having held offshore interests in Panama that were only recently revealed.

Busuttil also said any government contract which had crossed Mizzi’s path as energy and health minister, should be investigated by the police immediately.

Speaking at the end of a protest ‘against corruption’ he led in Valletta, the PN leader exhorted all Labour MPs to disassociate themselves from what he said was the “government’s corruption”.

Busuttil also called on the Commissioner of Police, Inland Revenue and the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIAU) to investigate Mizzi and Schembri, and any government contract that had crossed their path.

Particularly, the Busuttil referred to the partial privatisation of Enemalta to Shanghai Electric, the new LNG plant awarded to the ElectroGas consortium, the privatisation of the St Luke’s and Gozo Hospital, oil procurement, as well as a hedging agreement with Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR.

All contracts were awarded by public expressions of interest except for the sale of a 33% stake in Enemalta, and Mizzi’s ministerial direction to Enemalta to hedge for fuel with SOCAR, which forms part of the ElectroGas consortium.

“The people expect justice and if it is not provided, it would be a PN government which would deliver it,” Busuttil said, donning the hat of a party leader who was giving a voice to those who were angry at news that Mizzi and Schembri could be using tax havens to squirrel money away from the island.

“This is not a protest for Nationalists or a protest against Labourites, but a protest against corruption. Our colour is not blue or red, but white and red, the colours of the Maltese flag,” Busuttil rallied.

He quoted Ruzar Briffa’s poem Jum ir-Rebh, whose nationalist verses allude to the protest of Maltese football supporters in 1945 when the British national anthem was played instead of the Maltese during a friendly match against Hajduk Split.

Then Busuttil denounced Labour for taking voters for a ride. “We pay taxes, obey laws, and are proud of country. What we are asking is simple. We want clean politics; we want to live in a normal, democratic, European country. What we are witnessing is not normal and is unacceptable,” Busuttil said.

He hit Muscat hard by saying that his electoral win in 2013 granted him a “unique and golden opportunity” to radically change the country. But that opportunity had now been lost and, Busuttil said, was too late to make amends.

“Rather than making the most of this opportunity, today Malta finds itself in a crisis of corruption, and we cannot continue like this,” he said.

“It was not normal that a minister’s driver to open fire at a vehicle; neither is it acceptable for a bankrupt company, the Café Premier, to be given €4 million by the prime minister after a meeting was held before the election,” he said.

But Busuttil said ‘Panamagate’ had been the last straw for the people. “It is not normal that the left and right arms of the prime minister – his deputy leader Konrad Mizzi and his chief of staff Keith Schembri – open a secret company in Panama after the election,” he said.

Addressing the crowd amid chants of ‘Shame on You’, Busuttil said it was incredulous that Mizzi had declared that he had only €92 in his Panama account.

“Why is the prime minister still defending these people? To defend the indefensible is unacceptable. The people are asking about the prime minister’s own interest in all of this,” Busuttil said.

“This inaction reflects not just a crisis of corruption but a crisis of leadership and a crisis of morality,” he said, again saying that Muscat could no longer preach against corruption with Mizzi and Schembri by his side.

“If the prime minister fails to sack Konrad Mizzi and Schembri, the country will get rid of them,” he said.

He went further in claiming that pensioners and low-income workers “were paying for the government’s corruption and struggling to make ends meet”.

Busuttil called on Labourites and Labour-leaning supporters to join the PN’s fight against corruption. “We are ready to link up with anyone who believes that corruption has to stop immediately. This is a fight we can all win together, Nationalists and Labourites.”

The protest ended with the singing of the national anthem.