‘Panama Papers will haunt Muscat till the end’ – Busuttil

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil accuses Muscat of prioritising the interests of his chief of staff Keith Schembri over those of the public

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil warned that the Panama Papers scandal will “continue to haunt” the Prime Minister until the next general election.  

“In no way is the Panama Papers case a closed chapter,” he told a press conference at the Opposition's Chambers, following a parliamentary debate on whether Muscat should fire his chief of staff Keith Schembri and whether MPs should be allowed to grill him.

The motion, proposed by independent MP Marlene Farrugia, failed with all Labour MPs voting against it.

“The case is so serious that everyone in the country is still speaking about Panama, Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri. It is simply unacceptable for ministers and chiefs of staff to open offshore companies, and it will continue to haunt Muscat till the end.”

When asked what further action the Opposition is considering, Busuttil responded that “the ball is now in Muscat’s court” and that the Prime Minister must “shoulder his responsibilities as a Prime Minister”.

Busuttil said that Muscat’s decision to reject the motion amounts to him “prioritising Keith Schembri’s interests over those of the Maltese public”,

“It is proof that different laws apply for the gods at Castile and for us common citizens.”

He noted that Muscat refused to have Schembri investigated by an ad hoc parliamentary committee, even after Farrugia suggested that the majority be composed of Labour MPs, rather than Opposition MPs as originally proposed.

He questioned how many times Muscat had personally travelled to Azerbaijan with Schembri, and called on the Prime Minister to respond to allegations of payments from Schembri’s company to that of former Allied managing director Adrian Hillman, as well as that of minister Konrad Mizzi’s alleged declaration of €6.4 million in personal revenue.

He also questioned why accounting firm Nexia BT - which had helped Schembri and Mizzi set up their offshore companies - had also set up an offshore company for Cheng Chen, who was part of the negotiating team behind Shanghai Electric’s partial purchase of Enemalta.

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