Government hits back at criticism over Egrant whistleblower arrest warrant

It stressed that arrest warrants were issued by the courts independently from the any other institution and that government was obliged to respect the rule of law

As per the rule of law, an arrest warrant is issued by a court of law, independently from any other institution, the government said
As per the rule of law, an arrest warrant is issued by a court of law, independently from any other institution, the government said

The government has pushed back against criticism by the PN and some civil society activists, regarding an international arrest warrant issued by the courts for the Russian woman who claimed to have seen, and been in possession of documents proving that Michelle Muscat – the Prime Minister’s wife – was the ultimate beneficial owner of the Panamanian company Egrant.

Yesterday, a European Arrest Warrant was issued for Maria Efimova, who is subject to at least two ongoing sets of criminal proceedings, having been accused in one of defrauding Pilatus Bank and of having made false accusations against Superintendent Denis Theuma and inspectors Jonathan Ferris and Lara Butters, in another.

“As per the rule of law, an arrest warrant is issued by a court of law, independently from any other institution,” the government said, adding that the arrest warrants had been issued after Efimova repeatedly failed to appear in criminal proceedings against her by Police in cases “unrelated to any allegations she made against politiciains”.

It said the Opposition’s “latest political spin” on Efimova could only be seen as an “attack on the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law”.

Earlier today, the PN insisted that, rather than asking authorities to protect the whistle-blower who “revealed important details regarding the Egrant case, she is facing an arrest warrant”.

“The PN does not accept that the whistleblower and her family be intimidated by Pilatus Bank, a bank that the European Parliament and the PANA committee expression reservations about,” said the PN.

“What happened in the European Parliament yesterday was not enough. Now the government wants to arrest the witness that has a right by law to protection as a whistleblower.”

The PN went on to say that there now remained doubt that under the government led by Joseph Muscat, the law was not the same for everyone.  

“This contrasts with the way in which the Joseph Muscat’s government dealth with the so-called whistleblower in the case of Giovanna Debono, where it promptly offered not only protection, but also hundreds of thousand of Euro in public contracts.”

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