Busuttil appeals Speaker's ruling blocking questions about Keith Schembri

The former PN leader said the speaker stopped and censored parliamentary members instead of defending their rights to ask questions in the interest of transparency 

Simon Busuttil, former PN leader, has presented a parliamentary appeal against the Speaker’s ruling which stopped him from asking parliamentary questions which asked the prime minister if his Chief of Staff Keith Schembri had any off-shore accounts.

In parliament this week, Speaker Anglu Farrugia did not allow Busuttil to ask questions about Keith Schembri’s offshore accounts, and said that parliamentary questions addressed to ministers must relate to public affairs to which they are officially connected with and what they are personally responsible for, have a factual basis, and not seek confirmation of media rumours.

In a statement, PN said that Busuttil’s motion said that the issue of whether the prime minster’s chief of staff had any off-shore bank accounts was of public interest and importance, even more when the accounts were mentioned in money-laundering investigations and Panama Papers.

“When the speaker stopped such questions, the speaker went against standing orders and even against the constitution itself, which is built on principles of democracy and fundamental right,” Busuttil said.

He went on to say that with his ruling, the speaker stopped and censored parliamentary members instead of defending their rights to ask questions and aim towards transparency and truth.

“Because of this, the ruling is dangerous, as the parliamentary members are being limited in a way which is unacceptable in a democracy.”

Busuttil also took to Twitter to post the appeal. He said he dedicates the appeal to Daphne Caruana Galizia, who paid the ultimate price "for her crusade against corruption and abuse of power in Malta."

The motion is being discussed and will be put to a vote in Parliament. 

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