PN leader promises permanent anti-corruption magistrate post

Busuttil also said the Nationalist Party would hold prime minister Joseph Muscat personally if any harm were to befall the Russian whistleblower at the heart of allegations tying the prime minister’s wife to secret Panama company Egrant

A new Nationalist government would amend the current judiciary system and introduce a permanent special inquiring magistrate with the sole remit of investigating cases of corruption without needing any prodding from the government, opposition leader Simon Busuttil said today.

Busuttil, who was addressing a party activity in Attard, said that such a change was necessary in view of the numerous cases of corruption under this administration and the police commissioner’s constant refusal to take any action despite the obscenities going on in the country.

“Let no one think for one moment that we will be turning a blind eye to these obscenities around us,” he said. “On the first day in government, I will order blanket criminal investigations into all these cases of corruption.”

Busuttil also said the Nationalist Party would hold prime minister Joseph Muscat personally if any harm were to befall the Russian whistleblower at the heart of allegations tying the prime minister’s wife to secret Panama company Egrant.

“Politicians can expect to be targeted and attacked, and we have unfortunately  even become accustomed, under this government, to seeing journalists attacked,” Busuttil said. “But we cannot stand to see a whistleblower, a courageous woman who without prodding approached the inquiring magistrate, attacked mercilessly by the government and its media.”

The Russian women, the former executive assistant to Seyed Ali Sadr Hasheminejad, owner of Pilatus Bank, testified before magistrate Aaron Bugeja for three hours on Friday.

“I am publicly calling on the police to ensure the Russian whistleblower and her family are immediately placed under protection,” Busuttil said. “If something were to happen to her, if you dare touch this woman or dare do something to her, let it be known we will holding Joseph Muscat personally responsible.”

The opposition leader said Muscat was an expert at lying with a straight face but the people now knew him well enough not to believe him, even as he continued to back his chief of staff, while he – the prime minister – himself faced criminal charges.

He said that in no other democratic country would the prime minister refuse to step down even when undergoing a criminal investigation.

“Even in meetings I had yesterday in Brussels, I was asked why the prime minister did not resign and how it was possible he had retained his chief of staff Keith Schembri even if he was now facing allegations of taking kickbacks from the sale of Maltese passports,” he said.

The country finds itself in an extremely dangerous situation as it is being led by a criminal gang in Castille that was increasingly finding itself with its back to the wall, opposition leader Simon Busuttil said today.

He said that the criminals in Castille realised that the only way to avoid being arrested, interrogated, arraigned and possibly imprisoned was to hold on to power through any means possible.

Busuttil said that a report in The Sunday Times had today not only confirmed that what he had accused Keith Schembri of was in fact true, but also revealed that the police commissioner and the attorney general have known for the past year.

“I was not surprised to hear such claims in the case of the police commissioner, but not so the attorney general, who I recall as a good and genuine man,” he said. “I want to remind the attorney general that he took an oath to serve the country and the constitution and I now beseech him not to let these criminals take him down with them, to do the right thing, to be a man and to leave rather than let them condition him.”

Busuttil appealed to Labour MPs to follow the example of their whip Godfrey Farrugia who yesterday resigned his post, insisting that “the people's faith in a historic Labour ideal should never have been betrayed and used to advance the agenda of a few people who clearly don't have the national interest at heart”.

He also reached out to all political parties and individuals to join the Nationalist Party, as the democratic party had done, so they could present a united front in the next election, able to take on the current administration.

Deputy leader Beppe Fenech Adami in turn appealed to Labour supporters to stand up and be heard, because the party they had worked so hard to help win the last election did not deserve to continue being led by “criminals and thieves”.

He also appealed to Nationalist supporters who had voted Labour in the last election.

“This Nationalist Party is once again your party. We have learnt from the mistakes we made,” he said. “And the Nationalist Party will welcome you back with open arms so that we can save our country.”

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