‘I, too, believe Owen Bonnici lied to parliament,’ Busuttil tells Speaker

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil told the Speaker of the House that he too believed that justice minister Owen Bonnici had lied to parliament and that therefore, the ruling on the shadow minister Jason Azzopardi should apply to him too

Simon Busuttil backed his spokesperson's claims and insisted the ruling should apply to him too
Simon Busuttil backed his spokesperson's claims and insisted the ruling should apply to him too

Justice Minister Owen Bonnici had lied to parliament’s Public Accounts Committee when testifying on the commissions being paid to Henley & Partners, responsible for the Individual Investor Programme (IIP) scheme, according to opposition leader Simon Busuttil.

Busuttil was speaking in parliament on Wednesday after Speaker Anglu Farrugia delivered a ruling on a breach of privilege claim Bonnici raised against shadow justice minister Jason Azzopardi.

In his ruling, the Speaker found Azzopardi guilty and referred the case to the House Privileges Committee. The opposition said it would be appealing the ruling.

Busuttil said the ruling on Azzopardi should also apply to him since he too believed Bonnici had lied.

The Speaker said every MP had the right to criticise other but they had a duty to parliament to desist from using offensive language.

Busuttil insisted that he backed Azzopardi’s claims completely because he believed in freedom of expression wheras Bonnici – he claimed – was trying to deny others that same right.

“Minister Bonnici is trying to deny us the right to express ourselves on the 30th anniversary of the political violence in Zejtun in 1986,” he said.

Bonnici said he was very disappointed with the accusations leveled against him but would adhere to the Speaker’s admonishment on the language used in parliament.

He said he was only using the same procedure adopted by Azzopardi himself in 2010 when he had filed a breach of privilege claim against the press.

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