[WATCH] Busuttil: Police duty bound to investigate Mizzi and Schembri

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil says Prime Minister Joseph Muscat equally as responsible for not sacking Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri in the wake of the "grievous, unprecedented situation" the government finds itself in

Busuttil says Joseph Muscat is ‘equally responsible’ for not sacking Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil has today said that all politicians have a “duty” to respond to the “grievous and unprecedented” situation the government finds itself in and demand the sacking of energy minister Konrad Mizzi and OPM’s chief of staff Keith Schembri.

“There have never been allegations of corrupt behaviour emanating directly from the heart of Castille involving the two people closest to the Prime Minister,” Busuttil said.

An original press call with Simon Busuttil this morning was cancelled and instead the Opposition leader opted for a recorded video interview.

Referring to the “new, grievous allegations of corruption” involving the Prime Minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri and the managing director of Allied Newspapers Ltd, Busuttil turned the tables on Prime Minister Joseph Muscat "for not reacting or saying anything."

Malta Independent Columnist Daphne Caruana Galizia alleged that Schembri paid “backhanders and kickbacks to Adrian Hillman for years on purchases made by the Allied Group of Companies from his business Kasco Group.” Hillman is the managing director of Allied Newspapers, publishers of The Times and The Sunday Times.

Schembri has since rebutted the allegations.

Commending the Times for “leading by example” after it suspended Hillman pending an internal inquiry into the allegations, Busuttil turned the tables on Prime Minister Joseph Muscat for “not saying anything.”

“The Times of Malta has always been a pillar of democracy in the most difficult times and I have no doubt this is and will remain the situation. It had now once again given an example of how things should be done by immediately suspending the person named until the necessary investigations are carried out,” he said.

“The Prime Minister, on the other hand, opted not to say anything or react, let alone remove Schembri,” Busuttil argued.

Taking umbrage at the prime minister for defending his chief of staff and Konrad Mizzi, the PN leader insisted that Muscat was equally as responsible as he had not sacked them.

“The prime minister is failing in his duty by not only leaving Schembri and Mizzi in their positions but also defending them. This means that the Prime Minister is not capable of differentiating between right and wrong, making him equally responsible,” he said.

Both Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri have admitted to having a company registered in the tax haven of Panama as well as a trust fund in New Zealand.

Busuttil insisted that the fact that the two had set up companies in black-listed Panama was enough grounds for them to be sacked.

 “The mere fact that these companies were set up in Panama is enough for them [Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri] to be sacked. You do not need an audit telling you that it is wrong for a minister or the prime minister’s chief of staff to set up a company in black-listed Panama. All you need is common sense,” he said.

“Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri own a secret company in Panama – a country well known for hiding money. They opened them while they were in power. These companies were not set up to remain empty, but for them to deposit money. Everyone is capable of reaching his own conclusions,” Busuttil quipped.

The PN leader also insisted that the authorities – including Commissioner of Police Michael Cassar – were “duty bound” to immediately take steps against Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri.

Busuttil also urged all politicians, heads of constituted bodies, trade unions, civil society organisations, academics and journalists to “wake up and make [your] voices heard before Malta stoops further in the race to the bottom.”

He also called on all people of good will, patriots, and those who wished to live in a normal, tranquil, democratic country to work together and take the country out of the “rut it has been pushed into.”