PN 'confident that more corruption scandals will emerge'

Beppe Fenech Adami appeals for 'more whistleblowers to come forward to reveal the truth'

Screenshot from the PN press conference Facebook live stream
Screenshot from the PN press conference Facebook live stream

The opposition Nationalist Party (PN) has said it was confident that more government corruption scandals would emerge in the coming days.

Addressing a conference, PN deputy leader  Beppe Fenech Adami reminded those present that yesterday, the Egrant whistleblower had testified for 3 hours in the magisterial inquiry into serious graft allegations involving Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, Former Energy Minister (now Minister without Portfolio) Konrad Mizzi and the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff Keith Schembri.

“Over the past few days, we heard stories of transfers of millions of Euros from an account at Pilatus Bank into a Dubai account that was owned by Egrant. Aside from this, in the past few days there was the publication of declarations of trust, which indicate black on white the wife of the Prime Minister as the person in whose name shares were being held in Egrant in Panama.”

Fenech Adami reminded that 3 Panamanian companies had been set up by the same people, using the same structures and had been revealed in the Panama Papers leak. He said he was “confident that more scandals would emerge in the coming days.”

The PN second in command described the IIP scheme as being complicit in money laundering, reminding that PN leader Simon Busuttil had claimed to have evidence that Schembri received kickbacks from Brian Tonna of Nexia BT from the sale of passports.

“The Maltese people understand that the situation in the country is a grave one and I appeal to people to continue to come forward to reveal the truth, to reveal the corruption of the thieving gang inside Castille. I repeat the party leaders appeal to encourage such people to come forward.”

“The PN from now, at all costs, will protect those who come forward to reveal the large scale corruption in the country,” he said, adding that Joseph Muscat’s  position as Prime Minister was no longer tenable.

Shadow Justice Minister Jason Azzopardi expressed his disgust at Muscat, who he said, “is trying to discredit a whistleblower through his lapdog.” He said it was hypocritical of the government to have implemented the Whistleblower Act only to then use third parties to discredit them.

“Castille has become a “den of thieves,” Azzopardi said. “Corruption entails taking money from pensioners, from the sick.” Azzopardi said it was “disgusting, a shame and shocking” to attempt to undermine the evidence of a whistleblower in such a serious corruption scandal.

The Tax Compliance Unit is reported to have reopened a tax audit involving Konrad Mizzi, Keith Schembri and Brian Tonna, after it emerged that accounts at Pilatus Bank might have been used for kickbacks.  A previous audit had been completed but had only inspected BOV and HSBC accounts.

“According to normal TCU practices, when a tax audit is carried out, the department normally seeks all necessary information about the investigated persons from the main traditional banks, Bank of Valletta and HSBC, in our case,” a TCU official told the Times of Malta.

“The unit did not know of the existence of other accounts in Pilatus Bank. Since it has now resulted that the three gentlemen might have other bank accounts, which we did not look into, instructions were issued to seek information from all the banks in Malta and reopen the audit,” the official said.