Panama Papers scandal not closed until Muscat resigns - Busuttil

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil says Panama Papers scandal will not close until Joseph Muscat, Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi resign, Busuttil says acting police commissioner 'lacks integrity'

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil has pledged to keep up the pressure on the Panama Papers scandal as Malta could not be considered as a normal country until those implicated resigned from office over their offshore links.


Addressing the PN faithful in Paola, the PN leader said even though the government and Konrad Mizzi had each survived a no-confidence motion, there was enough grounds for the prime minister and his two closest aides -OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri and minister Konrad Mizzi - to resign.

“Even if Muscat was unaware of their offshore links – which no one believes – the fact that Mizzi and Schembri should have been sacked after admitting to owning a company in Panama is enough grounds for the prime minister himself to shoulder responsibility.”

“We cannot consider Malta as being a normal country if they were retained as if nothing happened, or for the Prime Minister to keep saying that we are the best in Europe,” Busuttil said.

Refuting claims that both parties were on the same level, Busuttil insisted that he is not cut from the same cloth as the prime minister because he would have immediately sacked Mizzi and Schembri.

 “If the prime minister were to sack Mizzi and Schembri, then the case would be closed and it would be up to the public to judge the government … By retaining them, Joseph Muscat ignored the public’s sentiment and instead listened only to those who are with him in Castille,” he said.

“Is it possible that the prime minister was unaware of all this? Are they [Mizzi and Schembri] blackmailing him in a way? Is it possible that Muscat himself is involved?” Busuttil asked.

Accusing Muscat of “blatantly receiving the public”, the Opposition leader said Muscat had lost the opportunity to bring closure on Panamagate, and had instead opted to ignore the public’s sentiment.

“Muscat’s deception had been going on before the election because he had pledged good governance. Now it transpires that Labour officials were enquiring about opening a company in Panama just for days after the general election,” he said.

The PN leader also said that the country’s economic growth did not give the government the right to become corrupt, nor should it be used to deviate the public’s attention.

Hitting out at the police for not investigating the Panama Papers leak, the Opposition leader said the police’s inaction raised doubts on their integrity. “Even in corrupt countries, the police launch an investigation if there is a whiff of corruption, but in Malta, nothing was done,” he said.

Similarly, Busuttil pulled no punches and launched a scathing attack against acting police commissioner Laurence Cutajar, saying he is unfit to be the person in command.

“All he does is post obscenities on Facebook and praise the government and the Labour Party. He does not deserve to be acting police commissioner,” Busuttil said.

Assistant commissioner took over as the force’s commissioner earlier this month after Michael Cassar resigned due to health reasons. And according to Sunday newspaper Illum, it is not excluded that Cutajar be appointed as police commissioner.

 “I am not interested if he is Labour or Nationalist. I only care if he is serious and a man of integrity. We are ready to endorse the government’s choice if the government agrees that the new Commissioner be supported by two thirds of members of Parliament,” he said.